Big Deal! Why Deals Don't Work.

Why deals don't work

It's a bit legendary is Le Renais de Venise - a restaurant where there's only one thing on the menu. Steak. No choice of cut, no choice of sides. You're getting an entrecôte with their secret sauce, fries and a green salad with walnuts, or you're going somewhere else for your dinner.

Offering absolutely no choice is a bit brilliant for a restaurant. It shows passion, expertise and a certain cheeky charm. But it's a rotten way to run promotions if you're in retail.

And yet, that's exactly what most retailers still do - they push one or two prescribed deals at prospective customers and refuse to let them have any say. 'The Big Deal!', 'Catch Of The Day!", 'Special Offer!'... these isolated promotions might seem generous but, actually, all they do is narrow down customer choice, hamstring the shopping experience and destroy the price perception for the discounted product.

Once upon a time, there was a certain silly glamour in daily deals. Pre its Amazon acquisition, was a hoot (dotcom) - it was the Le Renais of online retail. But these days, it's just another conduit for remnant stock. Similarly, once upon a time, there was something cool about the hyper-local daily deals offered up by the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial - but we've all seen how those panned out for participating brands. In fact, if this story in Adweek is anything to go by, these are extremely bleak times for the doyens of Daily Deals.

So, if prescribed deals don't work, what is the answer? Less push, much more pull. Simple. Give your customers the opportunity to tell you what they want to see offered up in a deal - and, once a large enough number request the same thing, release that deal into the wild and watch it kill. From a purely practical point of view, a customer-curated deal comes with a de facto pool of red hot prospects

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China: the home of social commerce

China social commerce

So, here's a thing. China doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving Day  - but it does have a seasonal equivalent: Single Day - when young, single people buy each other gifts. And, this year, Single Day generated almost $5 billion online - that's at least four times what the US turned over across all channels for Thanksgiving. Daunting stuff.

But we're not surprised. Not only does China get shopping, it also gets social commerce - and it's been conducting offline versions of what we at buyapowa do for some time now. Called Tuángòus, these consist of flash mobs who turn up collectively at stores to negotiate better bulk-buy prices. In its rawest, crudest form, that's essentially what we do with our Price Drop Co-buys - except we work with brands from the start rather than ambushing them like this!

So, there you go. It's not just gunpowder, paper money and forks that the Chinese invented (yep, even before chopsticks, trivia fans) - they invented social commerce, too!

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