My Thoughts on Group Deal Sites
In light of the recent Facebook Deals launch, the world is now fully awake to the “group discounting” fad. It seems this service (product) category has quickly reached maturity, with a proliferation of these websites. Although I adore discounts, I must add myself to the list of skeptics on this one.
Using Groupon, Living Social, and similar sites have greatly raised my expectations of what I can get at a bottom-feeder price. Now, I put off going out to eat or leisure activities, and wait until they’re on Groupon. Surely Groupon saw this coming, but I doubt the local business owners did. Although I’ve also bought from discount stores a lot less, because I can find higher quality at the same price with coupons.
I also think that deals sites have had a more profound affect on our concept of pricing. Growing up in the United States, my idea was that prices are set in stone (by retailers). Trying to name my own price would leave me goods-less. Now, I’ve seen that local businesses have flexible pricing after all! Bargaining, apparently, is back on the table.
What’s to stop me from negotiating with services? If consumers are smart, we’ll find a way around Groupon to contact the businesses directly. Can’t afford a spa day? Just phone them up and create your own package! Get 20 of your friends together and broker a group price.
Everybody likes a discount. But I question the longevity of deals sites when both vendors and consumers have a reason to cut the middle man out.