Group buying is a relatively new concept that started in China, where retailers provided discounts and offers to customers who come and purchase a certain product. It was later adopted by websites, as Groupon offering deals and discounts on various products. At the beginning the concept was successful; many retailers capitalized on the visitation of customers to their shops to buy products. Additionally, websites became viral and the offers were increasing the returns on products and services’ sales. The concept later transformed the brands into being homogenous; customers did not differentiate the value of brands and loyalty really diminished while purchasing decisions were based on price, the offers provided, and the timing of the offer. Group buying became more and more fragmented, as the offers became like flyers no one pays attention for them anymore. The concept adopted by retailers without understanding the nature of the customers – mass offering was created without having any customization for what is being offered, wishing to reach as much customers to increase store or website visitation while marketing investment was being eaten. But, if the right formula is to be applied, group buying would be a successful concept that not only creates leads but also generate revenue.

Don’t Wait for a Purchase, Customize It
Customer behavior really matters when making a purchase, as customers are really conscious when buying together of the brands they get and the products that represents them. A group of friends buying together is the most sensitive type of group, as they will be more conscious about the products they buy than if it was a group of family. Retailers controlling the type of visitors when planning for group buying can have the right formula to increase their sales. Offering certain types of products together can generate high sales, and/or decrease it significantly. The equation also can include cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, genders, color preferences and so on – all depends on the country and how consumer behavior can be affected. The concept must go above and beyond group selling to customizing the type of group that the retailers want to attract to make more sales. As for websites, the key element is to understand the interests, the wants and the needs of their customers. Mass selling can’t work, customers’ preferences is the controlling factor which builds customer loyalty and frequency.

Use the Right Time
Daily deals do not always work, or weekly, or even monthly. The day “me” as a customer wishes to receive a deal for a specific product or service is different from another customer who wishes to receive a deal on the same product or service. When retailers started the concept of “Group Buying” they did it in low seasons to encourage the sales of their products. But, we have to go back again to the concept of customization – as a group of people who might be interested in a product in a given season might not be interested in it in another. Customers are very fickly, and retails whether brick or mortar or online must understand the right timing for their customers – or “Group” of customers.

Use Mobile Marketing
The best way to reach customers these days is through their mobile phones. The use of apps and social media website became part of the daily lives of customers, and to attract “Group Customers” you can be innovative using the mobile technology. Inviting different group of individuals to socialize on your app and meet in your store to buy your products can be a very innovative way to sell products. Customizing offers and sending them at the time the customer requested or indicated that they wish to receive these offers on can be a very intriguing and encouraging marketing technique to attract customer visitation.

Promote a Cause
Group buying not only can make profit, but also can be used to benefit the community. The more you do good, your sales will increase, and the more your brand will be leveraged. Taking part of the sales of the products for a social cause will definitely encourage your customers to repeatedly visit your store or website to be part of that cause and feel good when buying your products. You can also distinguish yourselves from other retailers by doing so; be a real part of the community by doing right and reaping the benefits of it.


Where to find Dr. Islam Gouda,