When looking ahead to what will happen in the New Zealand daily deal market, we look to the US market for clues. NZ deals sites follow the big US sites as the US market is more mature. New initiaitives over there get tried, tested and proven, and smart kiw sites pick up on the best bits and implement them here in NZ.
The two big US sites Groupon and Living Social are the sites to look to for new trends in this space. While we are still using the deal a day email model here in New Zealand, overseas the top US deal sites Living Social and Groupon have already shifted their business models.
While they still have several daily deals, they are shifting away from this. The new trend is for daily deals sites to become more like search engines for deals. Instead of the deals coming to you by email, you go to the site to search for what you are actually looking for. Sort of like a Google, but for deals.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Groupon now has categories for deals. You can go into a category to see hundreds of deals that might appeal. A far cry from a deal a day, or even a few per day. The model truly has shifted to more of a deal smorgasbord! You can see some deal categories there have 800 deals in them.
According to the Washington Post: Eric Lefkofsky the Groupon CEO, is "trying to train Groupon’s 43.5 million customers to regularly check for deals on their mobile devices whenever they are about to buy something, rather than waiting for an offer to be emailed to them each day".
This just shows how things are changing. Consumers are getting sick of their inbox filling up with offers for massages and icecream vouchers. Especially when those are things they may not even be interested in. If you want are looking to buy or do something that day, then you search and find a deal right then and there. No waiting and hoping for your favorite deals to pop up in your inbox, and having to deal with the 90% of the deals you don't want.
"That effort is beginning to bear fruit in North America, where more than half of all Groupon’s sales (third quarter 2013) were completed on smartphones and tablet computers."
This shows that customers are using big sites such as Groupon on the go. Customers know that they can get decent deals on deal sites, but often there is limited choice - it's just what is there on the day. For the most part there might be around 10 deals for random things. But what if you are looking to get your car groomed? Why not be able to go to a site, and see offers from multiple businesses, any time you like. This is what Groupon and iving Social are building. Deal marketplaces where you can find a suitable deal, when you are in the market to buy.
I think it's a natural progression. Who really wants to see emails with offers that aren't just that interesting. The only thing is that we are less likely to see big (and really cheap) deals that sell thousands of vouchers a day. Sales will be spread out across hundreds, potentially thousands of different deals. These deals can remain on the site for months at a time instead of only being available for one day. More choice, and the ability to get a deal for any type of service, anytime is a good thing.
No word yet on whether kiwi deals sites will make the switch. Market leader GrabOne, while they do have dozens of deals available at any one time, don't yet have a search bar. GrabOne also isn't categorising deals, although they could easily do this. It may be a point that NZ is a small market, so there may not be the numbers of deals to fill categories up very much. It will be interesting to see whther GrabOne as the market leader moves towards the deal marketplace concept with a search bar, or at least categories.