According to a report by Morpace, more than two-thirds of consumers say they have downloaded and printed online coupons. Coupons.com (38%) tops the list of favorite discount websites, followed by Google (34%) and Groupon (22%).
With more coupon sites springing up every month, Trubates spins the formula to offer great deals from small businesses, almost exclusively local merchants including spas, restaurants, fitness centers, and more.
We asked Brian Birkett, Trubates’ Vice President of Business Development, a few questions about how his online couponing service differs from others and how it’s succeeding in this fast-growing, competitive industry.
ISBB: When did Trubates launch and what cities are using your service?
Birkett: We launched in August 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have expanded to Minneapolis; Washington, DC; Boston; New York City; and Los Angeles, with more to come. We can launch a city in about a month – that’s been our model to date. We hire two new employees every week and will continue to do so in the future.
How are you different from Groupon and other discount sites?
Unlike the other consumer daily deals sites, we’re not about impulse buying. We’re more about letting consumers buy coupons they actually want to use and redeem, so we’re based on intent instead of on deadline. We believe that makes for a better experience long-term for both the consumer and the merchant.
How long are your deals offered on your site?
Our offers run for as long as the merchant wants them to be live. Merchants can pause an offer at any time as well as cap the number of vouchers sold. For example, if an offer does not perform, the merchant may pause the offer and replace it with another one. On the other hand, a good offer may sell out quickly within a few days of going live.
Overall, merchants who with work with us have one or more offers running 75 percent of the time. We’ve learned that businesses actually want customers to show up and redeem – you can’t get a repeat customer unless they show up the first time.
Do your merchants get lots of customers?
Yes! The “Local Deal Marketplace” allows a business to get a steady flow of customers, instead of the angry mob of bargain hunters.
We don’t want to deliver the volume that Groupon does all in one day, but send a steady stream of customers over time so that merchants can serve their customers well and customers have good experience.
Can you share a few success stories?
A few locations for The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurants have done a ton of business with us. In Minneapolis, we offered a $20 for $40 coupon and each customer at a table could use it, so it was very popular. At the San Mateo Melting Pot right now, we have a great half-price deal: $47 for $98 Fondue for Two: Appetizer, Salad, Entree & Glass of Wine or Bubbly.
We also have a Christmas Tree Farm in Los Gatos that ran an offer last holiday season for a month. It did so well that they already have their new offer teed up for this coming November.
As another example, we work with a salon in San Jose called Delight Hair Salon that has run five different offers with us and each has been successful. They currently have four offers on our site.
How are you growing your business?
We’ve signed up 3,000 businesses since we’ve gone live. We’ve continued to grow our business 50 percent month over month because merchants prefer the flexibility and economics of our self-service platform. Merchants can create their own offers online and we can have them up and running in a few hours. We also have the lowest commission rate in the industry to enable businesses to actually make money.
Visit Trubates to become a merchant to offer an online deal or to purchase one from their local marketplace.
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