ies, videos, testimonials and other prepara- tory information to understand how the deal’s tructure, coupon-redemption patterns (important for cash-flow reasons) and other critical elements can affect your business. Develop best- and worst-case scenarios for customer traffic, and determine the market- ing dollars you’ll spend and how that factors into your overall marketing budget and mix, says Witzky. According to Dholakia, employees are key to making these promotions succeed. Significantly, they should be reminded to treat an influx of new customers the same way they treat established clientele. Consider add- ing more staff and more phone lines, and expanding business hours and your website’s bandwidth, when the deal is initially offered.
“If employees have a good experience,”
predicts Dholakia, “so will customers.”
Customize. If the group buying site allows
it, consider offering higher-discount coupons
during your business’s slow periods and lower
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discounts during busy ones. If you’re aiming
for regular customers, try discounts that can
be redeemed over multiple visits. Ask about
other customizing opportunities.
Start smaller. While many companies
might welcome being swamped with customers, that’s also a common source of angst for
firms partaking in group buying sites. Consider
easing into this arena by capping the number
of coupons that customers can redeem. Or
maybe restrict the offer to certain zip codes. If
the site allows it, limit your exposure by featuring your company in a secondary promotion,
not the primary deal, says Witzky.
Up-sell. Make up for some of the deal’s
deep discounts by promoting higher-margin
products or services when customers stop in.
Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial won’t
provide email addresses, so ask customers for
their contact information to apprise them of
other promotions, events and opportunities.
Keep track. LivingSocial and Groupon
provide coupon-redemption information
(the fewer people who redeem, the more
profitable for companies). On your own, con-
sider developing customers’ profiles, deter-
mining whether they’re new clients who
return and discerning how much they spend
beyond the deal’s value, among other factors.
Pay attention if the sites post customers’ com-
ments about the deal or your company.
Consider all this information in future group
Harvey Meyer, a veteran freelancer from St.
Louis Park, Minnesota, writes for a variety of
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30 ;e Costco Connection AUGUST 2011