For my day off from work, I decided to cash in on a manicure/pedicure deal I purchased for a local spa in Central Hong Kong. Not only was the experience relaxing in itself, but even more rewarding because I remembered I just paid less than half of the spa’s everyday price for this service. When I bought this deal, I was given the option to suggest it to two friends to be rewarded with $50 worth of credit. I turned around and put that credit towards $150 worth of food at my favorite eatery. And on and on and on…..
Once scrutinized for turning to the web for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and ideas for family activities, my family and friends have now all joined in the group buying movement. In exchange for discounts, sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial promise merchants to deliver spikes in clientele. Being skeptical at first, I only bought local restaurant deals for my family to use. After having nothing but positive results and customer service, I now wake up awaiting delivery of these daily deals in my Inbox. I have bought everything from deep discounts on vacation spots, passes to rides at the local city park, clothing boutique deals, and gun range vouchers for my husband. I have yet to be disappointed.
But the huge discounts aren’t where the sites stop. Some of these group buying sites make it possible to go coupon-free. I can actually display the coupon on my phone at the establishment, and leave the hassle of printing out a coupon at home. There are, however minor, downsides to these deals. First, most of them come with an expiration date of about six months from the purchase date. Second, some deals restrict the number of coupons purchased per person. For example, if you bought more than two coupons for a certain salon, you were required to use them all on the same visit.
With the rewards system a majority of these sites provide (i.e., crediting you $100 for recommending two friends), the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. LivingSocial, for example, gives you the entire deal for FREE if you encourage three friends to sign up for the site and buy that deal. Moreover, the site also gives you $40 credit towards any future deals just for having friends sign up for the site (which is free!).
This has become one of the hottest trends online, and is made even more so by the rise in social media. I definitely use my personal networks to clue friends in on the latest deals. We also have seen a rise in our social lives, getting together to partake in our great discounts.