In the last year, I’ve written a number of blog posts on various topics. I wanted to take this opportunity to revisit some of my posts and provide updates that have occurred in the last year.
Only a few years ago daily deal sites didn’t even exist. In the last year group buying sites have grown enormously by the vast amount of consumers looking for the best deal. The group buying industry in the U.S alone is expected to grow 138% to $2.7 billion this year compared to $1.1 billion in 2010. One of the biggest successes today is Groupon, who to date has received a total of $950 million in funding. In the last year Groupon has grown and expanded to 35 countries in 500 new markets. The company’s subscriber base grew 2,500% from 2 to 50 million. In total the company reports that they have saved consumers over $1.5 billion.
Groupon’s success has introduced many competitors, both small and large into the market who want a piece of the pie. According to TechCrunch, in the first quarter of 2011 there were a total of 117 new deal sites, double the amount of the previous year. A total of 73,000 deals offered last year in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia. Facebook recently launched its Deal program by offering its users the opportunity to purchase vouchers for various activities with groups of friends and aggregated offers from other deal sites. Google also launched its own version of daily deals called Google Offers. It’s too early to tell who will emerge as the leader of the group buying market. However, with Facebook’s 600 million users and Google being the number one search engine, there is no doubt that they will succeed in the daily deal market.
By participating in group buying sites, businesses have the opportunity to reach a new breed of customers. It is also a great way to build loyalty, increase brand awareness and drive repeat business.
Location-based services have grown in popularity in the last year. Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla are some of the popular location-based services today, but over the last year there has been some stiff competition. Facebook launched Places, where users can check-in to places and announce their location to friends. When Places was first launched there was no reward or incentive for the user. However, it was only a matter of time until Facebook launched Deals, where users can receive discounts when they check-in to business locations using Places.
Foursquare recently indicated that the introduction of Facebook Places has not affected their business, in fact they have doubled the amount of users to 7.5 million. Facebook also announced that after two months of its launch more than 30 million users tried Places.
Location-based loyalty programs have been a result of the increasing popularity of location based services. Both businesses and users alike have seen the benefits of such programs. A new site launched last year called Topguest, lets users receive real rewards through their travel reward programs by checking in to various locations. Topguest has partnered with location-based services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, to offer rewards to users through some of the most popular rewards programs (i.e. Hilton HHonours or Starwood Preferred Guest). Recently, Topguest partnered with Instagram photos, where users can earn rewards by simply taking pictures of venues around the world and sharing it on Instagram.
Another new location-based app called Checkpoints is a service where you earn points for not only checking in, but scanning barcodes on various products throughout a store. Last year, the Checkpoints app was pending approval by Apple. Since its official launch in October it received 500,000 registered users. The company reports there have been over 600,000 scanned products to date.
Location-based tools are a great way for businesses to easily offer specials and promotions. Through this platform they can reach and connect with customers and encourage repeat visits.
Last year Facebook introduced the Like button, which lets users share pages from a website with their friends on Facebook. In the first week, 50,000 websites installed the button and 100,000 after one month. In the last year, more than 2.5 million websites feature the Like button. Facebook reports that more than 10,000 sites add the Like button every day.
With the success of the Like button and Facebook’s determination to make experiences more social, they recently launched the Send button. The Send button allows users to easily send content to some of their friends regarding a website. Currently with the Like button, once a user clicks on something they like, it is broadcasted to all of their friends. With the Send button the user has the option to send a link, title, image and short description to a friend through a private message, post it on a group wall, or send as a direct email.
The Send button was designed to be used with the Like button. For the Facebook user, this is an easier and faster way to send information to friends without the hassle of opening up an email message or filling out a form. For a business, it’s about the customer experience and one way is to provide your customers with all the tools available for sharing.