Today's Special

Daily deals a driving force for new, infrequent customers

By  Dana Squilla, Freelance writer

CHICAGO -- With everyone looking to save a buck, it's no surprise online daily deals are growing increasingly popular among consumers. And web-based services make it increasingly easy for operators to deliver such deals.

Now, a new study from Technomic Inc. lays to rest common criticisms against bargain email blasts such as those from Groupon and Living Social. The report found such e-mail propositions can influence repeat visits from new and otherwise-infrequent patrons.

According to the study, which the Chicago-based research firm explored in a webinar last week, 73% of consumers who have bought a deal coupon had previously eaten two times or less at the restaurant offering the discount. This finding contradicted the theory of deals being purchased mostly by existing customers.

[image-nocss] The study also discovered that eight out of 10 users of the daily deal will spread the word about the issuing eatery to family and friends, and that 34% will write about their experience through websites such as Zagat or Yelp. Meanwhile, 25% will take their reviews to Twitter or Facebook to voice their opinion.

Another key finding? Sixty-seven percent of the consumers who purchase such coupons will return to that establishment again--this time sans discount, with 50% signing up for that eatery's loyalty program. Although critics of daily deal services say they can lose profit because there's no chance to make up the cost of the discount over returning visits, participating operators believe otherwise--and the numbers show it, says Technomic.

Bottom line, the daily deal trend won't be disappearing any time soon, Technomic executive vice president Bob Golding concluded during the webinar. "The fact that 85% of consumers plan to continue to purchase online restaurant deals and 79% look forward to receiving them is a strong indication of the impact the online daily deal business is having, and of its potential within the restaurant space."

Keywords: 
loyalty