Paying for customers, not clicks: TradeMe extends its group buying tentacles

TradeMe has already launched a daily deals site. But as mouths continue to water about the potential of the world’s latest business trend, it’s about to launch another one called Treat Me, a stand-alone group-buying site focused on services, events and experiences rather than low-margin goods sent out through the post.

“Thanks to businesses like Groupon [which kicked off in 2008], coupons and vouchers are back in style,” says TradeMe chief executive Jon Macdonald. “In New Zealand, several sites have sprung up seeking to capitalise on this social e-commerce. With the market still in its infancy we’re confident Treat Me will appeal to Kiwi advertisers and buyers as a place to find a great deal. We’ve always been focused on providing Kiwi consumers with more spending power and helping New Zealand businesses reach additional customers. Group-buying is about exactly the same things.”

Source: APN annual report

With recent entrants to the local market faring well, particularly APN’s joint venture GrabOne, and the likes of Facebook and Google (which failed in its bid to buy Groupon) about to get in on the act, Treat Me’s big cheese James MacAvoy believes there’s still room in the market for another one.

He says Treat Me, which is 100 percent owned by Trade Me but will operate as a separate business unit with a dedicated team, is almost like “Google AdWords taken to the next level”, where the marketing budgets of businesses are spent paying for customers, rather than just paying for clicks.

He says there are already deals in the pipeline from the usual selection of restaurants, bars, cinemas, pools, zoos, accommodation and travel providers, day spas and a bunch of other businesses across Auckland and Wellington, but Macdonanld says there are plans afoot to expand into other regions over coming months.

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