So group buying is looking to become much more than just a fad – with the category researched to be worth more than $73million in the first quarter of 2011 alone, and boosting a quarter-on-quarter increase of 62%, the estimated 50 group-buying businesses in Australia are definitely causing quite a stir.

In fact, it has already become a market that is in need of targeting, or so OurDeal believes with the site’s launch of its highly specific First Date Friendly deals. Targeted specifically at singles looking for a cheaper option for date-night, but afraid of giving the impression that they’re holding back on spending money, these deals are designed to work discretely.

Instead of presenting discount vouchers in front of a potential future-wife, First Date Friendly deals issues a unique code to be used during a restaurant booking once the deal is purchased, At the end of the night, should the discount be overlooked, customers can still slip in a credit card-sized voucher into the bill when the lady isn’t looking.

Julian Holman, founder and CEO of Ourdeal.com.au says that the company is launching these deals “to banish the egocentric concerns of dating by making the voucher experience much more seamless, discrete and part of the normal dining experience”.

With Australians snapping up online deals as part of their daily shopping process, it is crucial that businesses are equipped and prepared for the response this type of marketing will bring.

“Small businesses recognise that the hardest part of business is generating leads. Daily deals sites carry out this hard work for [them]- but [they] need to be prepared for new business that come knocking,” advises Colin Fabig, CEO of LivingSocial and Jump On it ANZ.

Daniel Altshuler, general manager of Sydney’s Helm Bar, who have ran two deals and sold 3000 coupons in total, says that it is important to be well-stocked and have a dedicated person answering the phones. “If you don’t, your customers won’t be satisfied from the beginning. Do everything you can to exceed customer expectations so they become repeat customers”.

Fabig has 10 tips for businesses preparing to list on a group-buying/ daily deals site:

  • Understand it’s a way to attract new customers:It’s best not to treat daily deals websites as a revenue stream. Deals are designed to bring in new customers and generate brand awareness.
  • Do your homework:Know the date the deal will go live. Daily deals sites can reserve the right to post your deal at any time, but staying in close contact with them can save you from any inconvenient surprises.
  • Know your deal:Know the full details of the deal – what is being promoted and brief your staff. Don’t rush customers through – what you are seeking is return business.
  • Read the fine print: Understand your commission on each deal, and how and when it is paid to you.
  • Man your phones:In the first week, and especially on the first day, ensure your staff are briefed to take calls and make bookings.
  • Ensure you have the resources:Think about hiring additional staff to take bookings in the first three days, and prepare a script for them. This internal process is just as important as any external marketing.
  • Don’t let down your existing customers:Ensure you are prepared for the extra business. You need to provide the same high quality service to your existing customers. They will notice if you don’t.
  • Develop an ongoing strategy:Before the deal goes live, have sales and marketing strategy in place to create loyalty and maximise repeat bookings. Don’t use daily deals in isolation.
  • Take ownership of the process: Make it work for you on your terms. Only take on what you can handle.
  • Track the success of your deal:Collect information on purchases new customers make beyond the deal. This will help you determine the success of the deal and whether you should do it again.
Belle Kwan
BY Belle Kwan ON 26 July 2011
Assistant editor, Marketing magazine & marketingmag.com.au
A marketer's dream who believes everything she sees on TV.
Advertising is not evil, it is an artform and a science.