I’ve bought a few daily deals in the last year, and I’ve found it to be an interesting experience. The golden egg in the deal world is a repeat customer that pays full price. So, have any of these daily deals converted me?
I’ve bought deals from Living Social, Groupon, and TravelZoo. For me, food tends to be a great option, so all but one of my deals was strictly to try out a new restaurant or directly involved food. I bought a Living Social coupon to Let’s Art Party, a Groupon deal to Black Finn and a Murder Mystery Dinner Bed and Breakfast, and a TravelZoo deal at Rafain. The buying experience on each site was about the same: simple, quick, immediate receipt. I received my vouchers in a timely manner, and I’ve only had issues using one of the vouchers. When I had an issue with a Groupon voucher, the company refunded my money, true to policy, no questions asked. My refund showed up on my credit card bill a few days later, just as promised. So, from a site preference standpoint, none of these three sites has influenced my likelihood to convert.
The venue experience, however, is the deal-breaker. This makes perfect sense, as the deal is not trying to convert me from one daily deal site to another, but from a non-patron to a loyal (or at least one-time, full-price paying customer) of the company providing the coupon. And, it’s not rocket science, if you provide a great experience to every customer, they’ll come back. Sales people try to make the pitch that the coupon will significantly impact your business, but I would temper that assessment with the caveat that people must be willing to spend full-price if your company is actually going to reap long-term benefits. For example, my husband and I are willing to spend Rafain-level money on dinner sometimes, so you want us to buy your coupon to try you out, since we’ll definitely be spending that kind of money at some point in the future. This is the difficulty in coupons and promotions in general, since it’s incredibly difficult to measure whether or not you’re actually reaching people with strong potential to become paying customers.
Now for the conversion: the TravelZoo coupon to Rafain converted us from Fogo de Chao diners to Rafain diners. We’ve tried one other Brazilian steakhouse in the DFW area, and it was terrible. The meat was poor quality for the money, the selection was scant, and the service was mediocre. We determined that if we’re going to pay for a nice dinner, we’ll shell out the extra cash for something like Fogo de Chao. But, Rafain blew us away! We went on a Sunday night, and they treated us like royalty. No shortage of attention when it came to bringing around decadent meat selections, folding the napkins when we left the table, and keeping the sides fresh. Excellent quality, selection, and service have kept Rafain in our conversations for the last 3 weeks, and we’ve been raving about the experience to friends and family. Rafain converted us by delivering an experience on-par (if not better) than its competitors.
Let’s Art Party is another one that converted me. The BYOB and paint-a-canvas classes are becoming really popular, and I’ve seen several friends’ positive reviews on Facebook. But, I’ve just never wanted to pull the trigger, until I saw the Living Social deal for half off. If the evening was terrible, at least I didn’t spend too much on it. The evening was amazing! Not only did I go, I took my mom, and we made a girls’ night out of it. Let’s Art Party converted BOTH of us, and we’re planning to take my sister to a class in the near future. They’re ending up with a paying customer that they didn’t even need a coupon to reel in, because they provided such a wonderful experience to the two coupon holders. My painting is hanging in my office at work, and again, I’ve been telling all my friends about the great evening I had at Let’s Art Party.
The other two places don’t deserve another mention, since I don’t really want to give them the publicity that the other two amazing venues received. Another golden egg aspect, is the social media and word of mouth you receive if you exceed expectations. By delivering top-notch experiences, Rafain and Let’s Art Party now have the benefit of my online and in-person reviews, which reach much further than just the initial reach of a coupon. It’s becoming harder and harder to convert people via deals, but if you can deliver greatness, you’ll get benefits far beyond what the sales rep can show you.