As I mentioned last week, I’m really interested in the recent emergence in the post-consumer mastodon that is Groupon.
A friend of mine happens to be a single-day-deal power user. She agreed to a little interview. Her name isn’t actually Nancy, but I wanted to protect her identity until there’s a 12-step program she can enter. Demographically speaking, she’s a married, Caucasian, heterosexual Gen-Xer with children. If you have questions for Nancy, leave a comment and maybe she’ll answer.
Next week I’m going to try to talk to a couple of local businesses about their Groupon experience.
DB: When did you start using these services?
Nancy: In the summer.
DB: You belong to Groupon. How many of the other single-day-sale services do you belong to?
DB: So you get ten of those emails a day?
Nancy: I actually go on OneSpout. They’re all aggregated there. OneSpout tells you how much time is left on each deal, as well as mapping the deals out to show you where the deals are.
DB: How many of these would you say you’ve purchased since you started this summer?
Nancy: I’d go with about forty.
DB: Are there any trends in the sort of things that you buy?
Nancy: I’ve bought no actual products–it’s all services. I mostly buy from Groupon.
DB: Why is that?
Nancy: I think they’re more established. They have more clout to push for better deals. There’s also the convenience of using the same service, where you don’t have to enter new information or your credit card details each time. It sounds lame, but the one button to buy matters. Also, the discounts are the deepest on Groupon.
I’ve also never been disappointed by Groupon–I feel like the quality of service is really high. It never feels cheap or half-ass. The staff don’t feel reluctant–they’re prepped and happy. The Groupon app makes a big difference, because you don’t necessarily have to pre-plan and print out the documentation.
DB: Of the items you’ve purchased, would you have bought them anyway?
Nancy: I’m more drawn to things that I would be buying anyway for the most part. I got tickets to the Vancouver Museum. I also want to encourage driving attention to things like that.
DB: I gather your husband has laid down the law, in terms of number of purchases.
Nancy: (Laughs.) There’s been a bit of a discussion about ceasing and desisting the volume of the purchasing. But then he’s actually worse than I am in some ways, but he wants me to take the fall for it. There was one at Chronic Taco the other day, which I didn’t manage to get. And he was like, “what?”, and I’m like, “you said I should stop” and he’s all “not the good ones”. So we’re kind of an addictive family.
DB: So, on Groupon alone, you’ve got about 25 outstanding deals which you’ve bought but haven’t used yet. Honestly, do you think you’ll end up using them all?
Nancy: I will. I’m pretty cheap that way. The funny thing is that I’m not a purchaser–that’s so not me. But I do like experiences
DB: Do you think your discounted purchases will influence your future purchases? That is, have some of the Groupon sellers become places you shop regularly?
Nancy: I’d definitely recommend a rafting trip we did to others. But otherwise, I think I’m the wrong type of consumer for that type of thing. I’m a pretty habitual shopper. I think it could work for other people, who are more changeable, and bigger consumers in general.
In some ways, I have the opposite reaction to what some businesses might want, which is “this seems reasonable on this discount, but your full price is ridiculously high. But now that I’ve had it at his price, I’m not going to come back and pay the full price.”
DB: Do you tend to communicate with your friends a lot about deals?
Nancy: Yes. There’s people who know about my ‘habit’! I’ve got a healthy dose of shame about it, so my Facebook status is never going to be “check out the rockin’ deal!” But I do place surreptitious calls to my brother at work.
DB: Do you think you’ll maintain your rate of buying these deals?
Nancy: I have slowed down a bit. I don’t know if it’s my husband’s urging. My new personal policy is becoming “one out, one in”. So I have to use a Groupon before I buy another one. I was joking the other day that maybe those Millennium apartments down in False Creek will go on Groupon. I could tell my husband, “it’s my last one of the year, and I got us a one bedroom plus den for 80% off!”
UPDATE: Carlos pointed me in the direction of this cool infographic that depicts all of the “social buying” sites as planets orbiting a sun. It was built as a marketing gimmick for Flowtown, a poorly-named but useful data-mining service. I doubt exactly see a strong correlation between Flowtown and social buying, but your mileage may vary.