In today’s post Mat Sloan and Lynsey Abernethy from our UK MSS Practice assess four of the main ‘Deals’ offers in search of the best value and experience for customers.

Searching for deals online can be a time consuming exercise with the wealth of choice that exists on the web. As I wrote back in January, Groupon and other social shopping sites that deliver daily deals to specific cities have changed the way we seek and share deals. Before customers would spend time searching for deals yet now the deals – via their email inboxes – find them. Whilst I mainly analysed Groupon in January, (in recognition of their sheer size and success to date) it is fair to say that not all the social shopping sites are worth your time, and with the recent launch of Facebook Deals, Lynsey and I challenge which of the main offerings are offering the best ‘deals deal’ – to help you decide who to sign up with to get the most from the deals out there.

We have compared four of the main social shopping websites including the recently launched Facebook Deals. Using four criteria we’ll assess which website provides the highest frequency of deals, quality of deals and delivers the greatest value for customers whilst also assessing their global reach.

Name of website and overview Frequency of deals Quality of deals Value for consumers Global reach
Groupon Leader of the pack. Offers wide selection of deals from restaurants  to fish pedicures. Multiple daily per city. Varies greatly. Typical deals offer 60-70% savings. Due to the volume of deals it can be annoying – bordering on spam.£6 per referral. Global presence in 500 major cities in 29 countries.
Living Social Similar to Groupon it offers a wide range of deals. Multiple daily per city. Less deals that Groupon. Again similar to Groupon it varies greatly. Less deals per day than Groupon.Free deals for referrals. Global presence but again, not as widespread as Groupon.
Crowdity A localised London deals site which offers one deal each day on the front page of its website and via email.  The platform is personal in construct, supported by a blog and integrated with facebook/twitter to add the social element to the process. Daily The savings seems to be on average so relatively good value. The deals are very localised to London so relevant and generally known to the users. High value for Londoners. London, UK only
Facebook Deals Leveraging their ‘places’ functionality to offer local deals for users who ‘check in’ via Places.There are a limited number of US cities (5) which offer deal alerts. Hard to say as they’re not extremely visible via the Places platform.The PR to date has been rather confusing. The deals are split into 4 categories: Individual, Friend (group discounts), Loyalty (after multiple check ins), Charity – a more diverse set which are driven by location.Deals are generally national brands rather than customised for localities. Not clear until we see the deals, but seems to be more a driver for the businesses registered via Places. This is fairly limited presently with deals presented only when you check in via places, with the exception of 5 US cities.

Whereas Groupon and Livingsocial target smaller businesses and their local communities, Facebook deals currently tend to be focused on national brands. Groupon, given its size currently has the widest global reach yet we found that a lot of their offers can feel a bit like spam, compared to LivingSocial which feels more intimate and selective (perhaps a case of perception being reality) as they don’t send so many deals out per day.  Crowdity provides a ‘micro-deals’ offer customised to one target location which may indeed betailored better to its inhabitants.

Of course our analysis omits a couple of key players that we anticipate will have quite an impact on both the social shopping competitive space going forward and the overall digital customer experience.

High profile technology players such as Microsoft and Google it seems will enter the market looking to ‘aggregate’ at a high level all the deals (a bit like car insurance websites such as do for financial products). In the case of Bing, recent PR has identified that rather than competing with the likes of Groupon, Microsoft launched Bing in early March to aggregate the deals at a high level. The real challenge for the aggregators will be to filter the content to specific customers needs to reduce the likelihood of customers being fed up with multiple deals and turning off the notifications.

Interesting times and developments in what is proving to be a very robust business model in the crowded social shopping space.

Which website do you prefer? Who do you think the big winners will be in this space?