Following in the footsteps of Facebook Deals, Groupon Now and other large deal-providers offering location-specific discounts in real-time, GrabOne has launched its version in New Zealand, Instant. And, on the same day, Flossie.com has also relaunched itself as "a quiet-time appointment channel for the hair and beauty industry" in an effort to tap into the burgeoning deal-hunting consumer movement.
Cheaper smartphones and data plans, as well as consumers who have come to expect—and often brag about—discounts (as discussed in the latest Trendwatching briefing Point-Know-Buy) means deals are increasingly going mobile. Last month GrabOne, which receives 55,000 daily visits on its mobile app, announced 12 percent of its sales were via mobile and it set a target of reaching 25 percent of all sales through mobile by September 2012. And this initiative, which was launched in Auckland today, goes live in Wellington next week and allows customers to view deals (mainly food & beverage and entertainment deals) for nearby businesses on the move, is a big part of that strategy.
“GrabOne Instant allows Grabbies to explore new real-time deals which are close to where they live, work or play,” says GrabOne marketing director, Campbell Brown. “There are many businesses, particularly eateries, that could pack in a few extra customers over the lunch period. For example, Instant allows merchants to attract customers who are in the neighbourhood looking for dining inspiration and gives our customers great deals wherever they are."
One very smart move from GrabOne was handing out Android tablets to 2000 of its major merchants, thereby enabling them to upload deals themselves should they have capacity for more customers during quiet times, as the video featuring one of GrabOne's major deal-givers Mexicali Fresh that was made by Small Town Media explains. And for those frustrated at having to print a coupon out and show it to the archaic merchants (in my case, Fullers), the tablet redemption system allows buyers to redeem coupons by scanning their mobile. This system will be expanded across New Zealand this year, and, in more good news, the average 20 percent of customers who forget to use their voucher before the cut-off date will be pleased to know that they only pay for the Instant deal once the voucher is redeemed.
Elsewhere in deal land, the relaunch of Flossie.com was nearly two years in the planning and the e-commerce platform offers members a chance to fill quiet-time appointments and in return receive discounts, products and other incentives.
“As a result of the GFC we saw a significant decline in discretionary spending in the hair and beauty category," chief executive Jenene Crossan (AKA Freer) says. "Women have simply not been able to justify heading back in for treatments with the same frequency. Things that were clear 'needs' before have been relegated to 'wants'. Our site will enable women to feel guilt-free about re-prioritising their hair and beauty needs, by making appointment times affordable."
Along the lines of the wotif.com model or Aussie site Unbooked.com, Crossan says the focus on the ‘quiet-time’ appointments will clearly differentiate the site from mainstream deal websites.
“What we have launched today is only phase one. Our first job is to earn trust with salons and spas and prove to them that we can put bums on seats, and we can also get them returning regularly. We’ve basically 'poked the eyes' out of the deal sites, taking the good bits of them—like making it really easy to purchase—and then adding a flavour of our own, like an extremely limited number of vouchers just in the quiet-times focusing on really high-end salons and spas. This limited exposure coupled with low commission rates and realistic prices will not leave retailers out of pocket. Our next phase is system integration, meaning we can offer the ability to book and buy a real time appointment.”
Of course, whether consumers actually do return at full-price when they're becoming increasingly accustomed to distressed rates and deals is a matter of debate and was one of the reasons 1-Day Out shut up shop last year. But, for many merchants in this economic client, a little is better than nothing at all.
From today a major marketing drive kicks off using partner site nzgirl.co.nz, Facebook targeted advertising and email marketing. Radio, TV and newspaper partnerships have been formed and will round out the sales funnel.