As a penny-pinching consumer, I think that Groupon is one of the best developments to come along since the advent of sliced bread. (And not that bagged, supermarket sliced crap, either — I’m talking about still warm, fresh-from-the-bakery sliced bread!) My fair damsel and I have partaken of many jaunts about the town thanks to the savings delivered straight to our inboxes courtesy of the popular, group-buying, deal of the day bargains that Groupon negotiates for us. From dining on Moroccan food to fitness bootcamping to whale watching to local craft beer tasting to sky diving to traveling frugally to getting giant, beehive hairdos (or even just regular, non sci-fi hairdos), you can pretty much find a Groupon to cover anything a lifestyle could want. Sometimes you may not even realize that you’ve wanted to do something until it teases you with a 75% discount — then that’s just the universe daring you to step outside of your comfort zone (at fabulous prices)!
We may not be as hardcore about making use of Groupons as the official Groupawn, Josh Stevens (who “won” a contest to live for a year on nothing but Groupon deals around the country), but we do find ourselves tempted to forgo the familiar and adventure to other neighborhoods when invited by particularly juicy Groupons. And while we love the king company that gives us these deals of the day (every day), it doesn’t hurt to look at some of the top alternatives to Groupon when we really want to expand the horizons of our budget, right?
From the same folks who brought us the popular Visual Bookshelf and PickYourFive apps for Facebook a few years back, we’ve got Groupon’s most famous competition, LivingSocial. Its “mission is to add surprise to every calendar,” and this is a goal it seems to meet head-on with all of the enthusiasm that such a mission might suggest. Like Groupon, it will offer you one new deal of the day, every day, “with discounts of up to 90% at local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.”
Here’s one of LivingSocial’s really spiffy bonuses: if you buy a daily deal, and share it with three others who also buy it, you get your deal of the day for free! (Groupon offers you $10 if you share a Groupon with a friend and they buy it — as their first Groupon purchase. Depending on your friends and their compulsive group-buying, deal of the day purchasing habits, one referral bonus may suit your needs better than the other.)
If you think that LivingSocial might be a Groupon alternative that’s of value to you and you’re using an iOS or Android-enabled smartphone, I feel compelled to tell you (against the desire to avoid cliches) that there’s an app for that: LivingSocial
The world was watching on June 12, 1987 when then-President Ronald Reagan challenged the leader of the Soviet Union with the words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall — to amazing savings!” From a secret office in the Lubyanka (where they already had wristwatches with Internet access), KGB operatives grimly determined that if any walls to savings were going to be torn down, it was they who would do the tearing, comrades.
KGB Deals is a Groupon alternative that provides, like the other services, daily deals from various merchants across your fine city and beyond. It seems that the deals may be available to purchase for a little longer than they’re offered from other group buying sites; I see the oldest one in my city going back to about five days ago, for a total of six heavily discounted bargains available now. And if I don’t like anything that’s being sold in my own lovely hamlet, KGB Deals also has four national coupons being offered at the time of this writing. Not too shabby! There’s also a customer referral reward that’s pretty comparable with the others already mentioned. Another nice feature is that it gives you a really easy online form to fill out if you want to recommend a deal that you think should be offered — whether you own a business or not. This makes it easy for KGB Deals to follow up with the recommended business, which may benefit everyone at the end of the day.
KGB Deals also offers savings in the UK, France, and Italy. And while the company’s domain doesn’t look like it’s based in the Russian Federation, this is the KGB we’re dealing with, after all. Pretty sneaky, cec.
You didn’t think that Internet commerce heavyweight Amazon would let itself be shouldered aside by these upstart daily deal sites, did you? It may have taken a little while to get underway, but AmazonLocal promises “great local deals that save you up to 75% on restaurants, spas, entertainment, and more.”
My AmazonLocal deal for today is $39 for $300 worth of dental examination, cleaning, and x-rays, which is actually an 87% savings — more than AmazonLocal is usually able to boast!
And I’m glad I’m writing this post right now, as I almost forgot that I have two movie tickets that I purchased through AmazonLocal a few months ago because the price was too good to pass up. Maybe after this is done I’ll have to take my sweetheart over to yonder cineplex and take in one of Hollywood’s summer blockbusters before they expire!
At first glance, zozi’s discounts don’t seem as ludicrous as those promised by some of the other Groupon alternatives, but they’re still really good — or maybe zozi is just more honest than the others! 30% off is the highest percentage I see at the moment for any given deal (zozi’s “about” section says that discounts can be as high as 70% off), but this seems quite reasonable (and perhaps zozi’s business model will prove more sustainable over time as a result). If you’re down with philanthropy, you’ll like that zozi writes: “We also believe in a strong sense of community and do-goodery, so we give a portion of our profits back to the local communities in which we operate. We’re thrilled to help local schools, environmental causes, and other phenomenal projects — it’s part of our DNA and we’re psyched to do our part in making a positive impact in the community.”
$10 goes to you for referring zozi to a friend for his or her first purchase, plus your friend gets $10, too!
Can’t decide on a Groupon alternative site that you’d like to frequent because you feel like you might be missing out on something that one of those other Groupon alternative sites (or even Groupon, itself) is offering? Yipit tracks down current coupons from all of the deal of the day sites in your area and compiles an easy-to-follow list so that you can see, at a glance, the whole spectrum of savings available to you and your fellow local penny pinchers.
Right now, I’m having a look at what’s being offered in San Diego (my neck of the woods), and Yipit is pulling in 112 deals from the big-name dailies like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Amazon Local, but also some smaller and more specialty-oriented sites like Goldstar (which sells half-price tickets to sporting and theater events), Gilt City (which caters to those seeking “insider access to exceptional experiences with a twist”), Plum District (“for moms, by moms”), one that’s run by a local television network, and one Groupon alternative site that’s run by a local newspaper (remember those?).
Simply put, Yipit is a great way to catch some of the more obscure deals in your city that would otherwise slip through the cracks, say, if your email filters errantly sent that daily Groupon alternative notification into the spam folder, or you’re not yet a member to the sites from which they’re being offered. Sorting out the deal results so that you’re not overwhelmed is made super simple by giving you more precise categories to scan, so you don’t have to see all the offers for an hour of tattoo work or four rooms of housecleaning if you’re really just looking for a coupon that’ll save you money on dinner tonight!
Obviously, there are tons of these Groupon alternatives out there, and it’s hard to detail all of them. But maybe you’ve got a favorite that I forgot to mention? Perhaps you’ve got ideas for alternatives to Groupon that exist outside of the United States (which I couldn’t mention in this space as I’ve not personally utilized any of them)? Please drop a comment here and share your experiences with the rest of the class! A LockerGnome community that shares is a LockerGnome community that saves.
And really, there’s no reason not to belong to all of these Groupon alternatives, especially when they’re all working with different merchants in your city to provide you with ridiculous bargains. Are there any other alternatives to Groupon that you use regularly and are worthy of recommendation? Any that have caused you grief? Please let us know in the comments below!