I've always been a fan of the "daily deal." I use them to go to dinner at nice restaurants, take vacations and get a good discount at local stores. Last year I even gifted a Living Social deal for a Christmas present. The spa package included a 60-minute Swedish massage, a manicure and pedicure, plus a sauna room treatment - valued at $140 in a swank New York City spa. I spent only $49, a savings of 65%. After giving the gift, part of me was thrilled to have purchased such a great experience for a friend to enjoy; but another part was worried she would think I was cheap for buying her what is essentially a voucher.
So that our readers never have the same doubt I experienced, I did some digging on whether gifting a Groupon or other daily deal is the way to go this holiday season. Here are three reasons why you should buy one now:
1- You can save a lot, whenever you want: To be clear, sites such as Groupon, Living Social, KGB Deals and recently, Amazon Local Offers, give consumers great deals all year round. To score the best ones, users have to check these sites frequently or sign up for daily e-mail updates to get the latest steals straight to their inbox. Unlike Big Box stores that have a huge emphasis on one-off shopping days with big advertised sales, daily deal sites don't fixate on just Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Instead, the appeal is the opportunity to score from 50-90% off everyday during the shopping season (or everyday of the year for that matter). A consumer can purchase a gift whenever is convenient and there is no worry about having to combat other shoppers in the store for the last "it gift."
2- Experiences for sale: Julie Mossler, the Director of Communications at Groupon, calls daily deals an "online boutique for holiday shopping." These virtual shelves are stocked with everything from the aforementioned spa packages to cooking classes. Instead of a focus on products (although you can purchases those too), you can gift an "experience," that the recipient may not opt to buy for themself. Mossler gives an example: you could just give your parents another sweater as a holiday gift, or you can treat them to a hot air balloon ride, couples' massage, a sports car test drive or a wine tasting. As a bonus: sometimes these opportunities are exclusive to the site and a consumer wouldn't be able to arrange the experience on their own.
3- Shopping local: Buying daily deals also gives you the opportunity to support local vendors and businesses. Money for deals goes to the local merchants sponsoring the deals and not a big box store. As Mossler states, "It makes for a marriage of online shopping with the local community." It's also a bit more personal to give a friend a voucher for their favorite local coffee shop as opposed to a gift card from a national chain like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
In case these three reasons don't carry enough weight, I give you the testimonial from my friend who received the aforementioned Living Social spa deal. She called it a "once in a lifetime gift."