Daily-deal Web sites, with deeply discounted prices on a variety of offers, are a strong draw for Internet shoppers. A bargain price is no deal, though, if the product cannot be delivered. Nationwide, businesses and consumers have filed more than 1,000 Better Business Bureau complaints over the past year against daily-deal sites such as Living Social and Groupon. BBB serving Eastern North Carolina urges businesses looking to promote themselves through a deal site to do their homework up front.
“Companies that advertise through these sites need to prepare adequately for the volume of business they may receive,” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “If you are not prepared for the large influx of new customers, your company’s reputation could be severely damaged.”
BBB offers the following tips to business owners who are considering using daily-deal sites:
Choose a reputable site. Before you settle on a daily-deal site, make sure to check out its history. Visit bbb.org to view a company’s Business Review before doing business with it. BBB also suggests contacting business owners that have previously used daily-deal sites so you can get a first-hand opinion of their values and their pitfalls.
Set limits for your deal. It is important to outline the fine print to let consumers know any restrictions. Items to consider include when the voucher is no longer redeemable and how many coupons can be redeemed per visit. It is also important to consider the number of new customers you can adequately accommodate and to limit the total number of sales your deal should permit.
Train your staff. On the day of your business’s deal offering, take a few minutes to visit the page where your deal is being featured so you and your staff can answer any questions buyers may pose. It may also be worthwhile to hire a few additional employees to handle the volume of work that must be completed once the deal launches.
Do not expect a quick profit. If you are planning to use a daily-deal site as a way to quickly boost your bottom line, you may be disappointed. Most deal sites require businesses to offer customers nearly 50% off a product or service, and then split the remaining income with the site. So, business owners are typically pocketing less than 50% of each transaction’s revenue. This “lost-leader” sale makes it imperative that new customers have an exceptional first experience with your business and subsequently return to your establishment for additional products or services.
Build relationships with new customers. If your goal is to convert new customers into long-term patrons, it is equally critical that you provide excellent customer service to ensure they continue to do business with your company. This is one of the most important aspects of deal offerings and, unfortunately, it is where many businesses fall short. A customer is not likely to return once they have been treated poorly. Even worse, most will likely give negative reports about your business to their circle of friends and family.