Small to large South African businesses are harnessing the power of the Internet by using daily deal websites such as Groupon in order to grow their sales. These daily deal sites allow business owners to access huge subscriber bases and connect themselves directly to consumers within their local community. This means opening up opportunities that otherwise would not have materialised during these tough economic times.
“Globally, Groupon has helped over 250 000 local businesses grow since 2008. We have managed to do so because of the new customers our feature deals deliver to the featured businesses, and the type of exposure they receive as a result of the email sent to the highly responsive database of subscribers,” says Daniel Guasco, CEO of Groupon South Africa.
In the United States, the results of the 2011 Ipsos Groupon merchant study reported that for every ten Groupon merchants nine reported new customers from the promotion and eight said Groupon re-activated lapsed customers. Although these statistics are US based, the results reflect the trends occurring amongst South African local businesses as well.
Groupon South Africa has received a great number of testimonials from local business owners expressing how their featured deal brought in new customers and increased awareness within their local communities. Two examples of local businesses that have experienced this sort of return on investment are C&B Seen Optometrists in Johannesburg and Yacoob Yachts in Cape Town.
Abby Wilson, owner of Yacoob Yachts says, “Thanks to online group-buying companies such as Groupon, offering discounted deals to the local market, we have managed to fill seats on boats in this off-season. Groupon is by far the biggest group-buying site in South Africa,” she says. “We watched sales skyrocket in only a matter of hours. Apart from the huge influx of customers that we would not usually see during the quieter months we have had many enquiries about our other product offerings. Products such as kids parties and corporate charters from Groupon customers when phoning to make their booking.”
Francois van Heerden owner of C & B Seen Optometrists says, “Groupon has been a revelation to me from a business perspective. The process was a huge success. I see Groupon as an organisation that puts the public in contact with me, there after it is up to me to deliver the service that will make them loyal customers. I generated a lot of new business and was surprised to see many of my previous patients return.”
Designing great deals
“The key is to design a deal in such a way that it is mutually beneficial for both the business and the consumer,” says Guasco. “It’s important that the deal grabs consumers and at the same time increases the business owners’ potential conversion rate for repeat customers.”
This is why many South African business owners appreciates the assistance from Groupon’s experienced team, who provides personal assistance before, during and after the deal to ensure that the desired goals are achieved.
“According to the Groupon Merchant study in the US, eight in every 10 merchants report repeated business from the Groupon promotion. This illustrates that business owners have an opportunity to offer their Groupon customers the best of their product and service in order to build a solid base of loyal customers and reconnect with former customers,” concludes Guasco.