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Online Group Buying – A great idea, but do your homework

By Guest
Posts: 1

Posted on: July 11, 2011 at 1:21PM

With the emergence of numerous group-buying sites such as Groupon and Living Social, there are many opportunities for obtaining great deals and saving money. They operate in a similar fashion: Partner with local or online merchants to offer deeply discounted deals through their websites and email a “daily deal” to subscribers. The deal is activated once a predetermined number of subscribers purchase the deal during a certain amount of time. Subscribers then print out the deal coupon from the website, present it to the merchant and pay the difference. Merchants benefit from mass sales and hopefully new customers. Subscribers benefit by purchasing a product or service at a 50% or more discount. Though this sounds like a win-win scenario, consumers shouldn't abandon common sense. Ask yourself, "Is it something I would have purchased anyway?" "50% off" could be a bad deal if you've given into the impulse allure of a daily deal, much like buying items strategically placed in the checkout line of retailers. Be deliberate about what you're looking for and what you're willing to pay. If, for example, you've frequented a local restaurant and that merchant appears on one of the sites mentioned above, then this would be a good candidate for purchasing that deal. Groupon, for example, allows you to "follow" a merchant, so that you'll be notified if a deal appears for that merchant. If you've been there before, you'll know what the typical menu prices are and can decide if you're getting a good value. Some merchants may temporarily increase their prices, to soften the financial blow of offering that deal. Avoid going to the merchant soon after the deal is closed. Some merchants may not be adequately staffed after a deal has closed, so your dining experience may not be optimal. The deals are usually good for several months to a year, so you should have enough time to plan. If possible, categorize only those deals you're interested in. No need to be emailed and therefore tempted by a 3-day trip to the Caribbean if you just got back from vacation and/or just don't have it in the budget, even if it is 50% off. These sites will often allow you to select the categories you are interested in and you'll only receive those deals. Check out merchant reviews before you buy. Yelp ( is a good site for this. A deal is a deal by value AND by service/quality. There is no sense in paying for something that is discounted if the service or quality is bad. Read the fine print for the deal. You may discover that the deal may be applicable only during a certain date/time or valid only at certain locations. Online group buying can be a money-saver and a great opportunity to try a new product or service at a discounted price, but be deliberate, do your homework, and you'll come out ahead. Clyde Danganan An easy, efficient way of searching for Groupon deals! report a problem

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