Pro And Cons Of Social Media Coupons

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We received this email from Eye-Ra about their first Living Social Coupon Offering. (I have shortened the email)

‘We just had an offer on Living Social for a $200 discount on frames and lenses for $50.  We had over 700 takers.  Some people were upset because they couldn’t get Plano Oakley SG’s, the offer clearly stated that this was for Rx Specs.  Other people thought that they could get good glasses for their 50 bucks and were unhappy….  “Do you have glasses for $200?”  “Probably yes, …  They hogged up the phone lines …  I would say, in retrospect that this was a colossal failure.

A few people are smart shoppers are buying $400 – $500 glasses and getting legitimate 30 – 40% discounts.  I saw a couple of people buying Paul Frank frames with single vision lenses for their coupon + $66.  That’s a great bargain.  I strongly doubt that we will convert all but a few into long term customers; these people are sophisticated bargain hunters and if we’re in the hunt the next time around, we get a shot at them, but if you beat us by a couple of bucks, we lost.

Most of the people who buy these coupons… Now I’m not suggesting that it’s not worthwhile to do couponing.  It has its place and is a potentially effective tool for marketing, but do it judiciously.  Seek out you audience carefully.  A similar offering in the Denver Daily Deals, done by the Denver Post, the daily newspaper, brought in about 350 coupon sales.  I think the clientele was better and we had a better chance of converting them to long term customers.

After reading on OptiBoard, several opinions about Groupon and how they don’t want to discount their services, I thought I would put in another 2Cents.

First- NOBODY wants to discount their services. NOBODY wants to do any type of coupons. But we as a society, coupon shop. Think about what you use coupons for, the grocery store, clothes, discount malls, travel, free downloads, free webinairs, free software, free swag at Vision Expo. Why do businesses offer Free and Discounts? Because it brings in people. AND, hopefully some of those socially living, grouponing consumers come back and if they don’t come back, maybe, just maybe they will refer a friend or family to your otherwise unknown store.

Are businesses that Groupon bad businesses? Do I think worse of them because they discount? Personally speaking no. I only think bad of any business when they offer terrible customer service, they do bad things to the environment, are dishonest and lie.

Will you lose money? Most likely not, you may not make as much as you normally would, but if you got 700 phone calls, converted 100 people to sales and retained 20 new consumers, what is that worth? An average of getting a new customer costs $100, that is $2,000 you potentially saved in getting new customers.

That said, the purpose of coupon is to bring in people, it is your job to provide superior customer service so they do come back and refer their friend. You can hope and plan they will purchase that second pair, upgrade to better frames, add on accessories and mirror coatings. There will always be people that only want ‘what is in their plan’.

Based upon that here are the pros and Cons of Socially Living, Daily Dealing and Grouponing.

Pros:

  1. Spread the News and increase Viral Marketing of your products/ services
  2. Create an awareness of your company.
  3. Upsurge in web-hits and phone calls- (be prepared)
  4. Potential sales, in this case over 700 phone calls
  5. Long term strategy for new customers and referrals.
  6. Immediate sales

Cons

  1. Dealing with coupon shoppers/ bargain hunters- good and bad
  2. Time spent answering questions that are clearly answered on the coupon. i.e can I use my insurance, can I buy….
  3. Less net income for the short term.
  4. Unless you are tracking each coupon, you don’t know if they become loyal long term customers.

Most likely you will in the future get into the coupon game, whether by Facebook, Daily Deals, Amazon, ebay, google shopping, google plus, the possibilities are endless in the coupon genre. With coupons readily available, it is hard for the consumer to miss a deal and yet so easy for them to share with their friends.

Just something to think about.

Claire Goldsmith MidPage

2 COMMENTS

  1. Why oh why would you coupon your services? There is no way we will ever do groupon or these type of discount services. My service isn’t discounted. Instead of trying to get new coupon customers, use incentives for your existing base. All the work to break even or gain a few customers. No way. The labor cost to take care of 700 new coupon seekers at the expense of regular customers is a terrible business choice. I know many small merchants who have done groupon or living social and would never do it again. 700 new customers x 20 mins each =s 233 hours. Min $5825 ($25/hr).
    Take the best care of each person that walks thru your door and you will have free referrals. Groupon will be like mysapce in a few years.

  2. Be aware of the fact that these coupons drive the very price cautious consumer in your practice. It can also double your appointments quickly leading to stressed out and overworked staff and doctors. Make sure it is the best thing for your office if you need to drive business.

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