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Continuing our series on daily deal sites, it’s time to turn our attention to one of the more established and prominent sites in our own local market: Edinburgh’s Great Deal.

As usual we will take a look at how the site works, provide tips on how your business can make the most of Edinburgh’s Great Deal  and share opinions from companies who have worked directly with them. We’ve also interviewed the CEO.

Before we go any further though, it is important to provide the disclaimer: They are an Attacat client so we will try not to be too biased!

 

so, who are Edinburgh’s Great Deal?

Edinburgh’s Great Deal are part of the Today’s Great Deal (TGD) network, who also operate in Glasgow.

TGD are very much bucking the trend of the majority of daily deal sites by continuing to show strong growth (apparently 798 daily deal sites folded in the last 6 months of 2011) and TGD’s CEO Ron Morrison puts this down to their “uncompromising local focus”.

This ability to reach out to merchants shows through in the huge variety of deals on offer – from golfing and canoeing adventures through to luxury spa breaks, car valeting and meals in restaurants.   They even have offers for non surgical liposuction…

At any time there will be multiple deals live on the site.

Ron says “We probably could put out a beauty deal every day and make more money in the short term, but we realise that variety is key to keeping people coming back time and again.  This also applies to having more deals available at any one time – we now see people treating us as a shopping destination, rather than just a deal site.”

Handily the deals are all split up into sections on the website: Adventure and Experience, Food and Restaurant, Health and Beauty, Hotel, Shopping, Travel and more, and you can see all the deals and decide what you want before having to register! They are in fact the leading local daily deal site for hotels, in part due to TGD’s managment team’s background in the hotel trade.

holidays and your grocery’s too!

They have just launched a new travel deals section– perfect for those of you who haven’t yet booked your summer holiday. They include an offer for 6 days in Tuscany for 2 people for only £189 ! And there’s not just one or two up at a time. There is something for everyone both in the UK and abroad. Think vineyard, a spa or a castle…

The 6th August saw the addition of grocery coupons for the store Day-Today with a map to show you where your local store is. Coupons include 4 cans of Pepsi for a £1, 4 San Miguel for £1.50 and Flakes for only 1p, sounds like the beginning of a very cheap picnic! In fact they got one of those too for 1p.

New daily deals go live at midnight each day and run for 24 hours initially but may stay on for up to 21 days. They’ll also give you £5 for every referral you give them through email, Twitter or Facebook.

a ‘great deal’ for businesses?

Let’s have a look at companies who have worked with them and see how they got on with the experience…

First up it’s Edinburgh stalwart, Bedlam.

Bedlam Paintball

We spoke to Roman Rock, founder and Managing Director of Bedlam Paintball,  who have done 4 deals with Todays Great Deal.  They have used most other deal sites too including Wowcher, Groupon and Living Social.

Happy with the results, he “found that they had solid sales and compared to other deal sites actually had a higher redemption rate.”

Roman’s motivation for doing deals is to increase awareness of Bedlam Paintball.  Having run many deals with Edinburgh’s Great Deal and other sites he has some interesting observations on timings:

Offers put up by sites on a Saturday or a Sunday had much less uptake than those put up during the week and those put up on Wednesday and Thursday did especially well.

He thought that this was to do with members having the alerts for deals sent to work email addresses and by mid week people’s minds have already turned to what they are going to be getting up to that weekend and the daily deals appeal even more!

As with our last blog post we asked the featured businesses to give us their top three daily deals tips and Bedlam Paintball was no exception:

  • Play with the deal and make it different each time you create one – change the number of places or what you are offering to keep it interesting and fresh.
  • Those buying from a daily deal site are impulse buying so keep this in mind – they don’t consider the purchase for a long time so your price must reflect this. Bedlam Paintball have a high percentage off as people will spend on the day – but make sure customers are aware of what they are getting and the likely secondary spend to ensure you don’t end up with dissatisfied clients.
  • Think about the timing of your deal, school holidays etc and how it could effect your customer base and uptake.

We asked Ron at Today’s Great Deal  if the timings was a trend they also saw:

Although we see fewer people at the weekend, visitors spend much longer on the site than they do during the week.  Actually Monday tends to be our biggest day but it does depend on the deal.  We can usually tell our vendors what days will work best for them.

Tigerlily

Emma Loane from Montpeliers Tigerlily spoke to us too, she handles the deals for both Tigerlily and Ricks in Edinburgh and has found that Today’s Great Deal works successfully in achieving their goals of targeting new customer databases, selling distressed inventory and filling quiet periods, they have also seen repeat business from some of their customers who originally came in on a deal offer.

As with Bedlam Paintball, Montpeliers have run deals with other sites and has found that different sites have differing databases which she has found to be very beneficial for reaching new audiences.

Emma described Todays Great Deal as:

easy to work with and very helpful. We have been very happy with the results every time we have used them and the financial process of this site is particularly easy for our accounts team.

We also asked her for her top tips in forming a deal package for anyone structuring a deal in the furture:

  • Ensure you place a cap on the number of deals sold, one that is realistic – there is nothing worse than overselling and not being able accommodate everyone. Often the people purchasing these deals are new customers and if the first impression they receive is you being unable to accommodate them they will not come back!
  • Ensure that your t&c’s are realistic and very clearly displayed on the offer, excluded dates, days of the week etc.
  • Ensure that the package you offer is genuinely a good deal, one that is appealing and not something that guests could easily find elsewhere. If you aren’t advertising something better, they won’t buy it.

Cherrybank Dental Spa

We also spoke to Steve Philip at Cherrybank Dental Spa, another Edinburgh’s Great Deal customer.  He is another true daily deals veteran having run many deals on lots of different sites.

Steve found Edinburgh’s Great deal to be effective.  ”Whilst  it didn’t give them quite the numbers of the of the larger companies, it did have a local feel and the quality of the customers was the same .”  He also noted that Today’s Great Deal “take the time to help you to promote the deal on your own social media and involving members of your company”.

Cherrybank started to use deal sites when they were interested in increasing brand awareness after opening their Edinburgh spa.

After running a deal, Steve has noticed that in addition to people enquiring to claim a deal they also get a spike in enquiries about other services.  He has also seen large website traffic spikes around deal times.

Cherrybank work hard on creating “forever customers” and echoing the feedback from merchants we spoke to in part 2 of this series, Steve emphasised the need to ensure that your deal customers are treated in the same way as regular full paying ones.

Here’s Steve’s top tips for working with deal sites:

  • Have the capacity to handle the business that will come in from running a deal, Cap the deal a level you can handle, if it works you can always do another deal. The idea is to get new people in and exposure. Your deal site rep should talk to you about capping as they are all pretty wary of it now.
  • Make sure that  your online recommendations and your website is in order. Ask customers to give you a review and keep on top of them. People will research your business before buying a voucher so make sure it’s looking good online.
  • You will get a lot of calls and emails so be prepared! Make sure that you have the staff and resources to be able to handle it. Cherrybank especially find this as many people will call with questions about treatments before bookings.
  • Negotiating commissions – if your deal is something that the deal site really wants they will negotiate on it. 

daily deal demise?

There has been a bit of chat recently suggesting that the hype of the daily deal site has been and gone? However research from Rice University suggests not, especially for smaller businesses. The study was based on data from 641 small and medium businesses and found that businesses with an annual revenue below $500,000 saw a 41% customer retention rate from the deals and larger businesses a 15% retention rate.

It also found that photographers have the most success with daily deals due to thier high profit margins as well as dentists and the fitness industry. Less successful deals in terms of profit making were more likely to come from cleaning services, restaurants and retailers.

We took the opportunity to talk about Today’s Great Deal experience of this when talking to Ron.  Here’s what he had to say:

Certainly we see people make good money from deals, we wouldn’t still be here if that wasn’t the case.  Whilst it might be harder to structure deals for businesses with lower profit margins, we invariably find that some creative thinking can lead to a deal that will work well.  Certainly we have no problem assisting restaurants to structure good deals.

we chat to Today’s Great Deal.

Attacat Christie: You are an Edinburgh local aren’t you?

Ron Morrison: Yes I was raised here and Edinburgh is my home.  I believe that makes us the only major genuinely local deals site!

Attacat Christie: How does having local knowledge help the business?

Ron Morrison: In many ways! Being here on the ground helps us to discover a much greater diversity of deal providers and genuinely interesting offerings and experiences.  I think it also helps us relate to our vendors very well as they are able to talk to our senior people who often have experience of running similar businesses.

Attacat Christie: Many other deal sites have been launched by “traditional” businesses such as newspapers.  This isn’t the case with Today’s Great Deal. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?

Ron Morrison: Building a business from scratch has probably left us less constrained than others.  We are not in “protectionist” mode or worrying about how to change the direction of a sinking ship. Likewise not being able to rely on a stream of traffic from a media empire or similar has meant we’ve had to really ensure that we’ve focused on the customer first and foremost and I believe our uncompromising local focus will stand the test of time.

Attacat Christie: When can we expect to see you roll out to other cities?

Ron Morrison: We actually already offer some of our deals on a national basis but our full city-by-city roll-out will be gradual. We are now working with vendors in other Scottish cities.  England is not on the agenda for this year.  We very much see this as a long term business where diligence and “doing the job” right will pay off.  This is an approach that may surprise many who probably thought daily deal sites were going to be a “flash in the pan” business model. Too many other sites have sought to roll out to city after city without properly engaging in the local market with either merchants or consumers. We are very much here to build up a long term brand and that means ensuring that expansion does not compromise our existing markets.

Attacat Christie: The grocery deal offering seems to be unique to daily deals sites.  Can you give us some insight into how this is going?

Ron Morrison: It has been a bit of an experiment for us and very much about seeking to offer a greater diversity of deals on the site to help us move towards being a deals site rather than just a daily deals site.  We have been pleasantly surprised by how well it has worked for all concerned.

Attacat Christie: Anything else you would like to tell us about how the site will grow in the coming months?

Ron Morrison: We have entered into “Community Invest Programmes” with charities and other community focused organisations.   We supply deals to their communities which in turn allows us to give back to those communities. We plan to build on this as engaging in the local community is core to our overall strategy.

Attacat Christie: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

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