Given the increasing saturation of the “deals” market, Microsoft has made a much talked about and speculated move here. Consumers do not want to sort through the 6-10 different emails they are receiving daily from all of the deal vendors sites they’ve signed up for, so Microsoft has come up with a convenient solution for these users. Bing says, “Instead of building another program, we're harnessing deals from major providers and retailers, including Groupon, LivingSocial, Nordstrom, Target and many others, to help you cut through the clutter and find the best deals in one central location. Now you have a place to browse, find and purchase. Because we’ve done the work, all you have to do is go to bing.com/deals.” Microsoft’s Bing Deals offers more than 200,000 specials across the United States and, as a deal aggregator, it should eliminate the need to sign up for email alerts from multiple coupon-based services.
The only problem here is that there are still a lot of consumers who find Groupon, Living Social, etc. completely irrelevant for their everyday wants / needs. While Microsoft has made a smart move aggregating these into one site, will it be enough to swing the consumers who still aren’t on board? I tend to find on average one or two deals every few months that are worth purchasing. However, for the most part, the offers seem off - base. How often do you find your favorite restaurant or, for that matter, anything you would be buying regardless of the coupon? Not often in my experiences… Some of the current deals available now include: 3 different deals for a carpet cleaning, a discounted in - home massage, and a discounted hairdryer. If the deal vendors could better customize and target the deals toward a certain customer base, it would be much more beneficial to all parties involved.
On the flip side, Jewel-Osco has leveraged Groupon to drive their loyalty marketing and has been successful in doing so. Here is how the deal works: “A shopper purchases the deal on Groupon.com and enters their Jewel-Osco Preferred Customer Card number. If the shopper doesn’t have a Preferred Customer Card, they’re immediately invited to sign up online. Once the Groupon purchase is complete, the deal value is digitally loaded onto the shopper’s loyalty card. When the shopper purchases their ice cream at a Jewel-Osco store and scans their Preferred Customer Card at the check-out, the deal is automatically credited on their bill.” What better way to grow your loyalty database than discounted ice cream in July? And even better…its convenient and user friendly- no hassle or printing coupons, etc. This is an easily trackable and low-cost investment for the retailer, so I expect we will start to see more and more of these partnerships.
Overall, deal vendors, when partnered with appropriately, can prove to be beneficial for your business, but consumers don’t need another deal email popping up in their inbox every day. Companies need to identify innovative and convenient ways to utilize these vendor deals while making them relevant for their customer base and, at the same time, supporting their relationship or loyalty marketing strategy.