The social media couponing phenomenon has hit and it has hit hard.
“Groupon.com”, a subscription service is now in over 150 markets and has about 15 million subscribers. It is the big kahuna in this new revenue generating marketing machine. Their model is to ask retailers, like you, to cut your price by 50%. Groupon then takes 50% of that price.
For example, if you are selling an “all you can bowl program” for $10, Groupon will ask you to sell it for $5. Groupon will then keep $2.50 of that while you keep the other $2.50. Pretty steep discount, yes? The advantage of Groupon, however; is that the offer can be geo-targeted to your market area; so its a real rifle shot and not just a shotgun marketing blast.
Groupon also sets a “buy in” level. Once a specified number of Groupon members sign up for it, the deal THEN goes live and the Groupon subscribers are then charged for the offer whether they use it or not. Groupon also asks for a long period of acceptance so expiration dates are less flexible.
There are other players in the market too such as LivngDeal.com, Homerun.com, Buywithme.com and Giltcity.com. Be sure to check them out before you run to Groupon.
But, if you are going to use Groupon, offer a coupon for $10 worth of bowling for 2 or more people. Yes, you will only get $2.50, but at that price how much bowling and shoe rental can 2 people buy? Maybe 1 game each and maybe 2 pairs of shoes? At least you will have a chance for additional games (and additional food and beverage), provided that you you specify that the coupon is only valid for full price open play games and not for “specials.”
Study this phenomenon. It will only grow in the future. Yet consolidations will happen. Groupon may be bought by Google. Several of the smaller social coupon companies will consolidate and some will go away. Other new models may appear as well, more suited to your needs.
One other point; many of these social couponing companies may not let you access the data of those people who subscribed to your offer. You may be on your own on this one so make that a goal of your program…to get the data!
And like other marketing tactics, make sure your goals are crystal clear. Do you want to tap into a new customer base? Do you want to get bargain hunters in to whom you can sell other “special” products or are you looking to get people to bring a friend or two) to the center.
Start with the goal, then the strategy and then the tactic.
Marketing never works any other way.