Tag Archives: Groupon

Mother’s Day savings

You can get your mom a beautiful gift this Mother’s Day without breaking the bank. Lots of online florists are offering 50% off deals including ProFlowers and FTD. That’s just the start of saving.

ProFlowers is offering a LivingSocial coupon for $15 off a $30 purchase. FTD is offering a Groupon for $20 off a $40 purchase.

In previous years, there were issues with the FTD deal.  In February of 2011, users who bought the deal were directed to a special website to buy the flowers. Shoppers complained the prices were higher so the offer really wasn’t a deal. Plus, you couldn’t take advantage of other discounts or promotions which are common with these online flower sites just for visiting the website. Sometimes you don’t even have to enter a special promo code to get a free vase or a percentage off your oder. To deal with the issues, customers were allowed refunds if they complained.

That previous issue made me leery to take advantage of the ProFlowers deal, even though it’s a different company and I’ve had great luck with ProFlowers delivering a high quality product. A few times they’ve missed on the flowers. Call it a bad batch or whatever, and the company made it right.

I read the fine print on this year’s deal, and found ProFlowers setup a special website to deal with this coupon. That was the issue that got FTD in trouble because the prices were different. I perused the prices on the special site. They appeared the same, and reluctantly I clicked “Buy.”

I’ll note this year’s FTD deal does not use a different site for purchase. You simply go to FTD.com if you use the Groupon deal.

While there is a special website setup, I bought the flowers with the deal without going to the special site. I did that just to make sure I wasn’t paying any additional fees. The promotional code was accepted.

Deals are really the only way to buy flowers from these online sites because the handling charges and shipping charges add up fast. If you buy a $30 arrangement, expect to pay close to $45 with all the fees. Consider the promotion you bought as a way to cover all the excess fees you’ll be charged online. Also, you don’t see all these fees until after you enter all your information on ProFlowers. At that point, you’ve already invested a lot of time. Are you really going to shop elsewhere if you don’t like the price?

If you can, I’d skip online and head over to Costco or your local florist. You’ll get a nice looking arrangement for $15-20 at Costco. Your local florist won’t charge you excess fees either because you’ll be delivering the bouquet.

If you have to order online, take advantage of multiple deals. Use Ebates. It’s a great way to get paid for shopping. I earned an additional 16% back on my order. Plus, if you click through from Ebates, you’ll get a free vase.

Also, look for promotional codes. You might be able to save up to 20% more.

You don’t have to spend a lot to save a lot this Mother’s Day. You just have to know where to look for the savings.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why balloons might break the bank this Mother’s Day and a trick to keep the cost down.

$400 food deal for $40 – eat it up or pass?

If you like to dine out, there’s a deal that can save you money while you enjoy great food. How about a $400 Restaurant.com e-Gift card for just $40? More than 9-thousand people bought the deal from Deal Chicken saving 90%.

While it sounds like an incredible deal, think before you buy it. You can often get Restaurant.com gift certificates for $1-5 if you have a promotional code. These offers are common at the end of the month when they’re trying to clear the inventory.

If you don’t have a promotional code, you’ll often find $25 gift certificates on Restaurant.com for $10. That would get you access to 40 different restaurants with this $400 deal. That’s a lot, but before you buy make sure there are 40 restaurants worth trying.

I like Restaurant.com, but in my opinion the selection of eateries is mediocre. The high-end restaurants and most sought after ones, are not on the list. In Cleveland, I like being a foodie. I’ve never ate so well in my life. I’ll try new places with Restaurant.com gift certificates, but I looked through the list for my area and didn’t find 40 restaurants I’d like to try. I didn’t even find 20 I’d like to try.

I felt like if I bought the certificate, I’d be eating at places just because I had a coupon. That brings me to my next point — how much are you going to spend at 40 different restaurants? The minimum order at most places is at least $35. Some put an even higher minimum. At most places, I’ll bet you spend more than $35. Studies show people who use these coupons spend more at the restaurant. They get a drink or an appetizer when they otherwise wouldn’t. We typically never spend $35 when we eat out with a coupon or without one. It’s my guess you’ll spend more than $35 when you use your coupon.

Plus, you can’t use most of these certificates on Friday or Saturday. There are often alcohol exclusions too. With Groupon and LivingSocial deals, you can usually use them on the weekend and for alcohol.

This deal is great, but really only if you eat out a lot and are open to trying lots of new restaurants. I mean lots! $400 will go a long way on Restaurant.com. Just remember, you’re still spending a lot. That’s fine if you would spend that much if you had a coupon or not. Just make sure you’re not spending more just because you have a coupon?

After doing the math, I’m not going to buy this offer. I’ll stick to buying the occasional Restaurant.com offer when I can get it for $1-5. That way I’m not overbuying and not overspending just because I saw a good deal.

If you want to take advantage of the offer, it’s valid through April 3rd. You are supporting a charity when you buy the offer. Ten percent of the proceeds benefit the Dan Marino Foundation.

Returning a daily deal

Ever had buyer’s remorse? I’m always looking for a good massage or spa service — even just a manicure and pedicure. Daily deals are always tempting making it easy to second guess your decision later. If you know the rules of the game, you can easily get your money back.

Deal buying is a spur of the moment decision. I usually check out the business to see if they are offering a lot of other deals at the same time. I’ve noticed a trend where lesser known companies shop the daily deal sites. It’s probably more the daily deal sites are selling to them, but one day the business will be on LivingSocial, and a few days later on Groupon. I think this sends the wrong message to the consumer. It makes me nervous to invest in a business that sells a lot of daily deals all at once. Who knows if they’ll be around long enough for me to cash in on that deal.

If I don’t see the company shopping daily deal sites, I check out their website and customer reviews. Those are not always available, so sometimes I just have to take a risk. Recently, I got so caught up in the process that I forgot to read the fine print. I thought I’d have the standard six months or a year to redeem the offer. Apparently, that standard doesn’t exist any longer. I got an email confirming my purchase, and minutes later I got a reminder email telling me I had until the end of the month to use the deal. I couldn’t believe it. The deal only lasted three weeks? To make matters worse, it was a service industry. It seemed unrealistic I’d be able to get an appointment in that short time.

I never tried to make an appointment, because that timeframe simply wasn’t going to work with my schedule. I looked at the return policy not expecting much. After all it was my fault for not reading the fine print, but I was pleasantly surprised. I knew there was no way I could use the deal within the next three weeks, and thought I was just going to be out the money.

There is a 3 day cooling off policy that allows for refunds in many transactions, but I never thought it would apply here because it was sold at such a discount. However, I was surprised to learn these sites have great return and refund policies.

There’s “The Groupon Promise” which offers to make it right if you are let down by your Groupon experience.  The promise says if you want to return a purchase for any reason, Customer Service will work with you to make it right.

With LivingSocial, you can get a refund within five days of purchasing the Voucher.  You can also get your money back if you don’t get a chance to use your discount before the business goes out of business.

I got my money back right away, so now I’m more inclined to invest in a lesser known business. I still follow my gut, though, and when it just doesn’t feel worth it I don’t take the risk. To protect your money, always know the rules of the game before you spend money.

New Groupon feature allows you to win discounts if you dare to click

If you like Groupon — meet Clicky. The latest quirky feature to be added to the deal saving site. Clicky will be a clickable value-wheel that gives you the chance to get a discount on select Groupon offers. The wheel comes alive with facial features, but don’t count on winning.

The company notes it’s a rather amusing character and that’s on purpose. As the company writes on its blog, “Clicky was designed to provide momentary distraction and meet the minimum threshold of amusement necessary for users to share Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel through social media channels, thereby virally spreading Groupon and increasing its number of active customers.” Social media is a lot of strategy, and Groupon clearly gets how to make itself attractive in that world.

As for your chance of winning, Groupon is upfront and honest admitting your chances are slim. At one point the company even admits, “Literally, most people will not win anything.” The goal is to attract new customers through the viral spread of Clicky. The company appeases its legal team by admitting you probably won’t win and customers by disclosing it upfront. To appease shareholders, the company explains in its blog that the value of attracting new customers will be greater than running the program. The company is full of marketing gimmicks, and while odd, they are frank about its purpose.

When I logged into Groupon this morning, I saw the picture to the left in the right hand column of the daily deal site. Once you click on the offer, you’re taken to the picture at the top of this post. The big wheel with facial features. That’s when you’re told to log in with Facebook to test your luck.

When you log into any site with Facebook, you give up all sorts of privacy rights. The company has access to basic information about yourself including your list of friends and other information you’ve made public; your profile; information others share with you; the company can send you email; post to your Facebook account with status messages, notes, photos, and videos; and access your data at any time even when you’re not using the application. This is pretty standard when you run any app or download an app, but it’s another consideration.

So, what are your slim odds of winning? For a $100 discount, your odds are 1 in 100,000. Not good, but not horrible. For a $50 discount, your odds are 1 in 10,000.  For a $10 discount, your odds are 1 in 11, and for a $5 discount your odds are 1 in 20. The real hook is that your discount code, if you do win, is only valid for 24 hours.

To get this to become a social media hit, if you “Like” the game on Facebook, you get five extra bonus spins during the promotion which runs through the end of January. Normally, you get one per day.

The question is – will people actually spend time playing around with Clicky when the company admits “Literally, most people will not win anything”?

Click comment below and let me know what you think.

Who coupons? Study shows it may not be who you think

Coupons have generated a lot of debate this year as shows like “Extreme Couponing” aired. I’ve been using coupons all my life, so it’s interesting that now they generate controversy. So, who is using all these coupons? A nationwide survey by the University of Arizona reveals it may not be who you think.

Researcher and division chair of retailing and consumer sciences, Anita Bhappu, found higher users are the most affluent with 24-percent reporting a household income of at least $75,000.

In the study, these high users are called “coupon divas.”

“They don’t use coupons because of financial constraints but because they perceive coupons as saving them money,” said Bhappu.

Among those who didn’t use coupons, 61-percent had a house hold income of $35,000 or less. This survey shows your income doesn’t always drive coupon usage.

Coupons are no longer just the ones you use at the grocery store. Groupon and Living Social have given rise to a new type of coupon. You can now use coupons at salons, spas, and sporting events. While not specifically surveyed in this study, they will be evaluated in the future.

It’s not all women using coupons, either. The survey found 48-percent of coupon divas are men.

While shows like “Extreme Couponing” show people going to extremes to use coupons, and my story on stockpile sale showed people going to extremes to make money off coupons, the study found coupon divas generally use six or more coupons each time they shop.

Related links you may like:
Garage sale for extreme couponers
Coupon industry responds to problems
Coupon controversy

“Groupon Goods” offers deals on products

Vacations, local businesses, and now gadgets. Groupon is expanding what it’s daily deal site to offer what it calls “Groupon Goods.” It’s a way to offer really good deals on products.

I got my first email today offering a Garmin Nuvi 1450 LMT for $149. The Groupon offers a 37% savings.  Amazon is offering it for $151. Since this puts Groupon and Amazon into the same marketplace, it’s hard to tell if Amazon dropped it’s price as a result of the Groupon. It’s $166 from sites featured on Shopzilla.

While Groupon is driving down the price of this GPS with this offer, you should always check the prices of competitors before you buy a product. Price Grabber and Shopzilla make it really easy.

In each email, there are several products featured including wine glasses, seafood, knife set, or custom framed art to name a few of the items.

With products, you can tell Groupon where you want it shipped at time of purchase and they’ll share it with their business partner, or you can buy it directly from the company with a coupon code.

Returns are possible within 14 days of when you receive the product. You mail it back to the supplier rather than Groupon itself.

Related links you may like:
Groupon teams up with Expedia for vacation deals
Money saving sites

Groupon Rewards program encourages repeat business

Daily deal site, Groupon, continues to expand. Now, it’s offering Groupon Rewards giving you access to deals from your favorite business with repeat visits.

This is an interesting program, because many critics say daily deals don’t bring repeat business. This appears to be a way to deal with that issue and keep merchants selling a daily deal.

You’ll unlock deals when you pay with your credit or debit card on file with Groupon. Once you spend a certain amount at that restaurant, which is set by the business, you will get the chance to buy a special Groupon for that company. The deal Groupon showed was better than their traditional 50% off. The one showcased was $4 for $20 worth of Italian food.

Groupon touts its program for the ease of use for customers since you don’t need a loyalty card. You just need your credit card on file.

It’s not being offered nationwide yet. The pitch seems to be toward merchants, and without merchants you can’t offer this in every city. You can sign up to be notified when the rewards program comes to your city.

Google buys daily deal site

I don’t usually post about all the comings and goings in the daily deal world, but considering I featured this website in a NewsChannel 5 story, I figured I better let you know it may be changing.

The Dealmap is a website that maps all the daily deals near your home. It’s an aggregator meaning the site does all the searching for you and compiles all the deals on a map.

The site launched in 2010, and it’s changing as Google is buying the site. The Dealmap said on its website, “We believe that joining Google will help us innovate in new and unexplored areas of commerce.

For the time being, we will continue to support The Dealmap’s core products and partner services. People will still be able to access local and daily deals through The Dealmap website, mobile apps, and daily email, and we’ll continue supporting The Dealmap API and feeds for existing sourcing and distribution partners. As we’re ready to share more about integration and transition plans, we’ll update our partners and consumers on progress and any news.”

Time will tell what changes consumers will see. Hopefully, it will only get better as The Dealmap is already a useful aggregator for consumers who want to see the real location of that deal.

Vacation getaways at a great price

 It’s week two of Groupon Getaways, and there is a new group of exotic getaways. I’ve been checking the sales of last week’s featured items, and at last check 7 deals sold out and 13 did not. The Vegas trip I mentioned last week didn’t sell out at last check.

Saving on vacation is not new to Groupon. SniqueAway is another great site to save on hotels and resorts. The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill is featured this week for just over $100 a night for a room. These are four or five star hotels that receive a TripAdvisor rating of four out of five. You get an idea of what other travellers thought of the hotel because there’s a review next to the deal.

The difference between the two sites is that SniqueAway is a members only private sale. If one of your friends is on SniqueAway, ask them to invite you so you can begin to cash in on the discounts.

Groupon & Expedia team up to offer “Getaway” savings

The latest daily deal site launches today with two big named players in the marketplace. Groupon and Expedia are teaming up to offer Groupon Getaways.

The first offer features 13 htoels in cities all around the world including the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. So how good is the offer in a city where people expect hotel rooms for free if they are a frequent visitor and gambler? For $89 you get a one-night weekday stay with a direct-access pass, gaming credit, and breakfast buffet for two. Groupon Getaways says it’s worth $199. If you want to go on the weekend, you will pay $144 and get the same value.

The deal will last for six days and as of this morning only 3 were bought, so the deal didn’t tip as early as I see normal Groupon deals tip. However, it’s harder to sell a deal in a state halfway across the country rather than your own backyard.

To see the deal you need to provide your email address like many deal sites.

If you want to go to Tahiti, how about $1000 toward a vacation package for just $500. The savings are there, so before you book your next trip check for a deal on Groupon Getaways.