Social buying drawing crowds
It has been a busy week, and a busy year, for the concept of group/social buying. After being refused a buyout deal from Groupon, Google revealed that it is testing a competitive service called 'Google Offers'. Small Business Trends looked at how the new Google service might work. It looks to be similar not only to Groupon but to Living Social, a service that seems to be the preferred choice over at Amazon. Facebook provided a glimpse into its early thinking with 'Buy With Friends', a program currently planned only for digital purchases. There are also vertical services emerging, such as Plum District, described by Ad Age as 'Groupon for moms'.
All of this activity continues despite serious questions being asked by advertisers about the long term quality of social buying customers. There is little doubt that it can generate profit but it remains to be seen if it can generate profitable relationships over the long run. The Harvard Business Review wrote about the quick dissipation of benefits experienced by some businesses and suggested that perhaps value is something that the buying sites will not be able to offer.