Get a table of friends together and it’s likely that most of them have tried Groupon at least once. And if you’re in my circle of friends, it’s a near guarantee that at least one of those friends is addicted to a group-buying website- Groupon or otherwise. That was definitely the case recently, when a friendly conversation turned into story after story about the lure of huge discounts, and how those discounts seem to so effectively blur the line between a want and a need. There are a few companies that we hear about a lot – Groupon, Living Social, Capital Dish – as well as so many others who offer strikingly similar good deals and fun bargains, but not so similar levels of service. It seems everyone has a bad story to recount about the experiences in redeeming something purchased from a group-buying site.
And it’s not just the buyers complaining. The stories on the seller side of the group-buying transaction are often the same. I talked with the owner of a spa recently who confessed that she doesn’t get repeat business from these sites and from an owner in the food industry who remarked that he doesn’t think these “discount seekers” will become his main customers. Continue reading