The 5 Best Groupon Alternatives

The 5 Best Groupon Alternatives 2018

Have you ever used the digital coupon services Groupon or LivingSocial to entice first-time customers? If you have, you already know the good, the bad, and maybe even the ugly about the most popular daily deal/group buying sites.

The good, of course, is the 120 million subscribers the company claims — that’s a big audience. (Groupon acquired LivingSocial in 2016 so this number reflects the customer base of the two combined.) The bad/ugly boils down to the cost of doing business with Groupon: Many businesses lose money by using the service.

In fact, in a Business Insider survey, nearly 60 percent of businesses that had offered at least one Groupon said they would not offer another one. According to the same poll, 40 percent of participants said their Groupon experience “failed.”

Nearly 60 percent of businesses that had offered at least one Groupon said they would not do another one.

While the pitch to businesses might be something like, “You’ll get lots of new customers if you offer can’t-resist deals,” the stats simply don’t bear this out. Research has shown that 63 percent of the people who buy from the most popular daily deal sites are existing customers and just two percent are people who are first-time customers (source: CNBC ), suggesting Groupon is not the customer-acquisition tool it’s positioned itself as.

Despite those numbers, plenty of businesses continue to offer Groupons and lots of consumers still buy them: In the final quarter of 2017, Groupon reported 49.1 million unique customers who had made at least one purchase in the preceding 12 months. After all, it’s hard to resist a good deal.

What kinds of deals are the most popular? The majority of people who purchase deals from daily deal sites are looking for bargains on food and drinks, following by people looking for travel steals and recreational activities.

 

Pie Chart

  • 47% of people who purchase deals from daily deal sites look for deals on meals and drinks at restaurants.
  • 27% of people want travel-related deals — plane tickets, hotel rooms
  • 26% want recreational activities
  • 23% want computer equipment and gadgets
  • 19% want clothing
  • 16% want spa and hygiene services
  • 12% want car services
  • 8% want household services

(Source: Business Insider )

 

 

Offering deals that benefit merchants and consumers

Most daily deal and group-buying sites were designed primarily with consumers in mind — which is terrific if you’re the consumer who’s getting that buy-one/get-one-free deal on a meal, or $25 window-cleaning services. But if you’re the business owner, it can be really difficult to make money by offering deep discounts, and really easy to lose money.

Popular daily deal sites don’t charge the merchants anything to use the service outright. When you consider that some daily deal sites require merchants to discount the price of their products and services by 50 percent, however, and then the deal site and the merchant split the proceeds from any sale, it’s obvious why it’s so difficult for businesses to make a profit using these sites. The result: price pressure on small businesses.

Fortunately, there are Groupon alternatives that allow merchants to create any type of deal they want to share, to set all the terms of their deals and keep all the profits.

Best Groupon and Living Social alternatives

Dealkit

Dealkit is a simple web app that lets business owners and marketing managers build branded deals right from their phone or desktop. When you build a deal using Dealkit, you get a link you can share anywhere — on your social channels, in email and on your website. Dealkit tracks clicks and referral sources, and also builds lists you can use to send future deals. The merchant — you — decide if the deal is a limited-time or limited-number offer. And you decide if it’s a freebie, a buy-one/get-one, a free trial, or a discount. You also decide how much to charge, and you keep every penny. Dealkit doesn’t take a cut.

Yipit

Yipit is to daily deals what Kayak (or Google Flight) is to travel. You can see all the deals available in your city in one place. Yipit aggregates deals offered by Groupon, Living Social, and other sites. Yipit “scours” the internet looking for deals and discounts — all with the consumer in mind — and then shares the deals with consumers who’ve signed up for a Yipit account.

Dealkit vs Yipit

Yipit vs Dealkit

Dealkit is made for merchants and service providers who are interested in providing their customers with great deals and services. Merchants create and share the deals they know are the most compelling for their customer base.

Woot

Woot, a subsidiary of Amazon, claims to help businesses take inventory that “would otherwise take months to sell through and take care of it immediately through time-limited offers.” Woot sets the terms of the deals, during the “vendor setup” process.

Dealkit vs Woot

Woot vs Dealkit

You and only you set the terms of your deal(s). Dealkit doesn’t take a cut of your sales, or determine how much you can discount your products. You can also decide if your offer is for a limited time, or if you want to limit the number of offers that can be claimed.

Travelzoo

Travelzoo started out as a purveyor of … travel-related deals. These days, however, they’ve expanded to more generic local deals. Think: restaurants, activities, entertainment, etc.

Dealkit vs Travelzoo

TravelZoo vs Dealkit

In order to list your products and services on Travelzoo, you have to fill out an extensive form and then wait for a Travelzoo rep to get in touch. There’s no information about how much of a cut Travelzoo will take if they distribute your deal. When you use Dealkit you simply decide on the deal you want to offer, create a Deakit campaign from a customizeable template so it complements your brand, and then share the link on your social channels, on your website and with your lists.

CoolSavings

CoolSavings is a coupon consolidator — on the homepage consumers can find coupons for everything from dish soap and diapers for major brands (like Kellogg’s and Tide), travel, health and beauty. There’s also a (lackluster) “Local Deals” section where you can find deals specific to your region.

Dealkit vs CoolSavings

CoolSavings vs Dealkit

I tried to claim five different deals and got the same “oops! Your offer could not be found” message. So how likely would I be to try to track down a similar deal? Not very! With Dealkit it’s easy to keep track of your “live” deals so no one is ever disappointed if they try to access your deal and can’t.

 

Dealkit Beta is free for a limited time

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Dana Kilroy
dana@shortstacklab.com

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is ShortStack's Director of Communications and Social Media Marketing. Before joining the ShortStack team she was a writer whose work appeared in publications and sites including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc. and many other lifestyle publications. Reach her on Twitter @dsullyk.