I feel like every week brings the arrival of a new group buying deals website. I get an email from a new startup claiming it’s somehow different to the others, when even they know they’re not. They just want a piece of the pie, who could blame them? The industry is booming, or bulging and about to burst, depending on who you ask. Finally, yesterday, I received a group buying related announcement that stuck out as a little bit different.

It’s called Swapdeals, and you can probably work out what it’s going to involve. It’s a site for Australian consumers to swap, buy and sell unwanted and unused deals and gift vouchers. Eg; you snare a deal through Spreets or Beets or Jump On It or Skip On It, or whatever service is pounding your inbox, and you realize later on, “hey I don’t actually want $350 worth of micro dermabrasion for $279″. So you put it on this website, you can swap it for another deal or sell it for whatever price you fancy.

Media man Ronnie Navani came up with the idea, and said the rapid growth of deal and group buying sites inspired the free service.

“Consumers are purchasing more deals and gift vouchers than ever before. Australia’s daily deals sites are expected to be worth over $400 million by the end of the year and over 4000 deals are published every day, couple this with the gift card industry, which is worth a reported $1.5 billion with only half the people who receive them spending the full amount,” Navani said.

Navani says it’s the first site of its kind in the world, and he reckons it will be successful because of the way consumers usually buy deals.

“Most of the deals are bought on an impulse decision,” Navani says, “they’re a short -term, enticing offer, so people just jump in. Whether they end up using it or not is a different story. My research shows between 25 and 40 percent of vouchers are never used. We are giving consumers the right to retain value rather than losing out completely.”

However, some group buying websites state in their terms and conditions that the vouchers are non transferrable. Navani says he’s hoping that will change and the group buying industry will see the benefits of being able to swap deals.

“Consumers will end up buying more deals if they have confidence that they can pass it on,” he says, “and businesses will end up doing well because they’ll get the new clients in.”

BY Brendan Lawley ON 28 July 2011