So, why not shift that trend across to the online space where we are spending more and more of our time, yes even shopping, and turn it on its head a bit so that this time you don’t end up with twice the amount of milk you actually need, but rather buy as a group and get great deals on a range of interesting products and services? This is the concept of social or group buying, which memeburn’s Jess Green writes has “literally boomed in South Africa, as it has all over the world”.
Aaron Toys, CEO of Wicount, South Africa’s oldest social buying site, explains that social buying works by getting a certain number of people to buy the same thing at a special rate, whether it is a meal at a restaurant, entry to a sporting event, a spa treatment, a theatre show or countless other options, but the deal is only successful if that number of people sign up before the deal ends. Toys says that his team contacts individual businesses and guarantees them an agreed minimum number of customers. If that number isn’t delivered, then the business doesn’t pay for the service, the customers don’t get the deal and Wicount doesn’t profit. However, if the marketing promise is fulfilled, then “everybody scores”.
So, it’s a ‘win-win-win’ for consumers, businesses and Wicount. Consumers get “great deals on cool stuff to do” and get the chance to discover new things to do; businesses get lots of new customers that they might not otherwise have attracted; and Wicount takes a percentage of the successful deals. Toys comments, “Our success is tied to the overall success of the marketing campaign.”
Such an interesting take on the traditional ‘buy in bulk and save’ concept’, capitalising on the increase in use of social media platforms to harness the collective buying power of consumers. And in a capitalistic world, it’s interesting to see a concept that isn’t solely about one company making money, but about all those involved gaining something and relying on each other for that gain.