Monday, November 1, 2010

Groupon, Living Social, Mamapedia and now...Walmart?

Face it. We all love good deals and most of us have given in to at least some form of group buying at some point this past year. I love it because:

1) I'm a sucker for deals.
2) Sometimes these deals are actually useful.

For example, we bought a Groupon for a free kayaking lesson from Next Adventure. This deal was amazing in itself, the experience was phenomenal AND at the end of the lesson, we scored some more coupons for Next Adventure as well as a free t-shirt. Thanks to this series of events, I scored an amazing pair of new Tubbs Frontier snowshoes for 80 bucks!

So these group buying sites have their benefits. Like for example, Mamapedia, which features a daily deal and donates 5% of the purchase to a school of your choice. How noble.

But their awesomeness and power over what we buy is kind of scary. Group buying is brilliant and frightening at the same time. I still wrestle with how I feel about participating in them. Are they dictating what I buy? Am I in control or is Groupon influencing me? What boundaries do we set for ourselves with these things? Do I simply need to accept that this is a freakishly effective marketing strategy that I enjoy being a target of?

And then today I find that Walmart is joining in on the scheme. Apparently they too have their own version of group buying. This article raises some interesting points about Walmart, but I think the questions are also applicable to all the social media coupon sites.

As consumers who are so used to having many choices, why are we absolutely enjoying the concept of being told what deals exist and on some subconscious level being told where to go and what to do based on the weakness we all have for incredible deals?

I feel like pleading ignorance. I don't want to think of the implications of this marketing strategy and just relish in good deals, but at the same time...I can't ignore it. Tangled neurons!

Your thoughts?

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