In the early days, "daily deal" sites traditionally sold physical products, not vouchers. The last few years have seen a massive boom in "group buying" sites that offer experiences and services like restaurant deals and massages.
These sites had sales people calling around all the businesses in the country trying to get them to run a deal. Businesses tend to offer their deals with just one deals site, so they became less and less businesses willing to try their deal on all the new deals sites that were contacting them.
The end result was people got bored of the same deals form the same companies. So many group buying sites were forced to change tack. There has been a big shift in the past 18 months.
Previously group buying sites would only offer deals on things to eat, see and do. They slowly started to experiment with selling product deals. At first there may have only been a few product deals each week, nowadays its a few product deals each day. So voucher sites have shifted into becoming product deal sites.
Before when you set up a daily deals site, you had the choice to set up a voucher site, or a products site. These days, the voucher sites have just morphed into selling products anyway.
Traditional Daily deals sites like "1day" have large warehouses, and every product they sell, the will ship to the customer directly. Sites like Groupon and Yazoom who started as voucher sites now offer more than 50% products. They still act as agents, getting the deals in front of their members, but it's a separate business or importer who will ship the products out.
The advantage existing voucher sites have over normal daily deal sites, is that they don't have warehouses. They were never set up to ship products. It's easy to see why these sites have started to focus on product deals.
It takes a lot of effort to set up a restaurant deal. You have to find a restaurant willing to do the deal. You have to organise and train the staff how to use the vouchers. You have to manage a whole host of problems that can crop up. You have unhappy customers, and the voucher can take 3 months to be used up.
On the other hand, to find an importer willing to clear a batch of products is a lot easier. Instead of running just one restaurant deal in 3 months, the deals sites could have hundreds of products to offer over that time.
Variety is what makes deals sites interesting, and products sold during a deal can be shipped out within a few days, not months. Deals sites take a commission on the sale of products, without having to hold the stock. It's eay money.
The downside for these sites is that they don't have the ability to be able to personally choose the products they would like to sell. They can only take what products they are offered. But voucher sites get contacted by dozens of importers, with thousands of different products. The hard work of products selection and importing is done by the experts. Being the middleman can be a lot less work.
So it's coming full circle. The daily deals craze started with products, then vouchers became hot, and now sites that offered vouchers are selling physical products. We are heading back to where it all started. All New Zealand group buying voucher sites are now heavy into selling products. At the end of the day it's the best of both worlds. We get voucher deals, and we get a large selection of product deals.
Voucher sites that have moved to "product-heavy" deals sites: