It’s official: Another fad is taking over my life.
More desirable than an iPod and as mighty as a good makeup artist – e-coupons have arrived. By all likelihood too, they’re here to stay. If you’ve heard of that new doohickey called the “Internet” and have used your computer for something other than illegally downloading music and movies (and you know which movies I’m talking ‘bout…), then you’ve definitely come across advertisements for some of these*:
- Social Shopper
- Indulge Living
- Dealfind.com (best referral payout as they send you cheques in the mail!)
- Living Social
The concept is simple, ingenious and effective: Provide mass offers for services and activities that the masses already use (ex. restaurants, bars, spas, beauty salons, fast food restaurants, fitness centres, etc) but offer them at heavily discounted prices.
Example: A 50% discounted coupon for a local eatery. You pay $20 for the coupon and in turn it provides you with a coupon valued @ $40 to use at that local eatery. Easy.
With typical offers listed at up to 50 – 70% off the regular price, they’re seemingly providing huge discounts and massive savings. If you can name it, there’s probably a coupon for it.
The ‘catch’: the offers are only available to purchase for a limited time (typically 24 hours), immediately sparking the ‘buy now or lose out forever’ mentality. A mentality that sells thousands of coupons every day.
So what’s the downside?
Relatively few, which is both a surprise and a welcome change. The offer limitations (if any) are clearly explained, restaurant offers include food AND alcohol purchases, and expiry dates are plainly visible.
If you’re still puzzled and wondering “Well how can they afford to offer it so cheap?” here are some of the numbers and rationale that motivate businesses to take part:
- 1000+ people might purchase the offer but not all of them will remember to use it by the expiry date. Even when the expiry date is a year or more later. People forget, move away, give them away as gifts (and the receivers forget) or people just don’t make the effort to use them in time. This translates to a 100% revenue purchase from you that goes right into the business’ pocket
- The heavily discounted PRICE of the offer can still be more than what it actually COSTS the business offering the promotion.
- The offer gets you into the restaurant but people rarely dine alone and you and your cronies will probably spend more than the total amount of the offer on additional food items, drinks, etc, etc, etc,. AKA– ka ching!
- Businesses want you to try a product or service at a discounted rate and assuming you like it and have a wonderful experience, you’ll happily go back and pay the full price. Well worth the 1 time loss for the business to gain several new life long customers
My so called-coupon filled– life
Never one to clip coupons (what am I? A 1950’s housewife??), these offers,like the best things in life, are free and delivered directly to me. Everyday I excitedly open my email inbox to see what offers are in store for me today.
Alas, a new problem has arisen – excessive credit card bills. I wasn’t planning on going to The Gap, but with a $25 off coupon, how can I say no?
I’m buying things and viewing offers for activities I normally say I would do or want to do…but really had no intention of actually doing:
Scuba diving instruction; a walking tour of Chinatown in downtown Vancouver; salsa dancing lessons; bootcamp fitness classes; 1-month gym memberships; $2 Dairy Queen Blizzards; 1 dozen cupcakes; discounted Mexican food, gourmet cheeses and fancy chocolates; pole dancing lessons, photo shoots, make your own wine kits (I don’t even like wine!), house cleaning services ($60 for 3 hours??? DEAL!); take-home chef prepared dinners, yoga classes,…the list goes on and on…and then on some more. Yikes!
I recently printed out all my e-coupons in an attempt to organize them and hopefully use them and the stack was ridiculously large.
Heck, I even bought a coupon to get your va-jayjay blinged out. Yes, you read that correctly. A bikini wax complete with a Swarovski Crystal be-jeweling of that oh so special area. The service is called Bling Your Thing and the offer was for $25 off so how can you pass that up?? Ok, ok, so technically I’m planning to use my e-coupon to get the body facial type treatment at the same spa, but hey, you never know… 😉
What’s worse is I now have a fear of signing up or paying for anything I don’t have an e-coupon for in fear that a coupon will come up the next day (Dammit, Pauly Shore videos are now 50% off?? If only I had waited one more day!).
As with every popular fad, addiction soon follows: see video game addiction, Civilization addiction, the sims addiction, iPhones/iPods/iPad addiction, etc. So soon enough I’m sure a self help program will arise for my e-coupon addiction, complete with products endorsed by a famous recovered celebrity (Jennifer Hudson, perhaps?) , DVDs & audiobooks featuring a 12-step plan, and certainly a line of self help books but before I buy any of that crap…
I’ll wait till there’s a coupon for it. 😉
*FYI-My referral links are included too where applicable. Tee hee 😉
-Titles taken from groupon.com, socialshopper.com and livingsocial.com
-Swarovski crystal image