Author Archives: Al Banda

9 Hot Tips For Farm Marketing This Season

Best Farm Marketing Tips

We’ve put together 9 of the best farm marketing tips (and a special bonus) to help farmers make sure that nothing goes rusty in their business toolbox.

If you get through our list of best farm marketing tips and you enjoy them, then you are going to love the book by Eric Gibson. Check out: Sell What You Sow! The Grower’s Guide To Successful Produce Marketing. Most of the ideas we share here are taken from this book which we promise has all the best farm marketing tips you could hope to find.

9 Best Farm Marketing Tips

One of the world’s oldest idioms is “you reap what you sow”. Few people know this better than farmers. Still, while farmer’s lead a lifestyle that allows them to enjoy the fruits of their labor, in today’s world it’s a challenge to keep up with people’s buying habits. Farmers need to make sure they are sowing as much in the “market field” as they are in the farm field.

Let’s jump into the 9 best farm marketing tips for you to use this season.

(1) Sell Before You Sow

As far as business is concerned, don’t plant one seed until you know who your customers will be. Match your sales volume to the market–plan ahead and anticipate what you can sell to your outlets. There’s nothing worse than producing a crop, only to find out that you can’t sell it. Market analysis not only helps determine if your prospective enterprise can be profitable, but also determines how you will promote and market your product.

With the web, it’s simpler to sell before you sow than you may think. In fact, you can get started right now by learning how to host your own group buys. For instance, listing a group buy on LetsPool! will help you get a feel of what your buyers are looking for this season. This is one of the best farm marketing tips you should work with to make sure your sales stay above your costs.

Group Buying Guide

(2) Diversify Your Markets

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If weather, pests, or a collapsed market wipe out one crop, you’ve got others to rely on. Also, once you’ve built trust with buyers, increasing the variety you offer them is a good way to increase the total volume they will accept from you. There’s a trade-off: you may have to learn new farming methods, buy new tools and develop new markets.

The shortcut to this tip is not changing what you sell but how you sell it. Adding a farmers market to your outlet mix, going organic, or making “value added” products are examples of diversifying your markets without changing what you produce. (Here’s one crazy idea you may like!)

(3) Turn Trends Into Profits

One of the best farm marketing tips for you to master is turning trends into profits. Look for niche markets through such trends as healthy living, smaller packages, more diverse and higher quality foods, ethnic foods, foods for weight conscious buyers as well as buyers concerned about food safety. What ideas can you work on to make sure your produce responds to those trends?

(4) CSAs

Get paid upfront (before the season starts!) with “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) farming. Members sign up in advance to buy “shares” of the farm’s harvest. This differs from conventional farming where the farmer bears all the risk.

Advance payment guarantees the farmer a market for everything grown, creates working capital at planting time so the farmer can purchase equipment and supplies as needed, and allows the farmer to devote more time and energy to growing. This idea falls right in line with the concept of group buying.

(5) High-Value Products

The key to selling high value products wholesale is the personal touch. Educate buyers and consumers about your product in order to make them willing to pay a premium! If you are selling to a distant specialty broker, for example, give them product information to educate their sales staff, and flyers and point-of-purchase materials for their salespeople to take to the chefs and produce managers.

(6) Sampling

According to Guerrilla Marketing author Jay Levinson, sampling is one of the best farm marketing tips available. Hand a prospect a small paper cup of cider, and they’ll likely want to purchase a gallon–that’s cheap promo!

Product sampling is especially important for introducing new products. Whether it’s with toothpick samples at your farmers market stall or roadside market, by doing “demos” at a retail store, or bringing along your cutting board when you visit produce managers or restaurant chefs, let the prospects taste your great product. Once they try, they’ll buy!

(7) Branding

A brand name is one key to getting high prices for food products. In a market of mass produced, no-name products, stamping your brand’s seal on your product builds trust. Even the smallest farmer can use branding to increase his status in the market.

The golden rule with branding is that “the quality goes in before the name goes on.” Bad products will ruin your brand name. Make sure you get the free download of The Step-By-Step Guide To Farm Marketing to learn more about building your farm brand (and much more of the best farm marketing tips!).

(8) Free Publicity

Before spending money on ads, use all the free publicity channels you can find. A story written about your product or farm in the local paper, for instance, can be worth hundreds or even thousands of ad dollars.

Products gone viral are more often due to a great story that hit the hearts of buyers than they are on paid ads. In fact, the rule-of-thumb for your small business is to only spend money on ads once you’ve used up all other ways of getting your products and/or brand name out there.

(9) Social Selling

In this day and age, if you really want to get the most out of all the best farm marketing tips, you should be learning all you can about social selling. As people spend more and more time online, it’s clear that the future of business is social selling.

In your plans, don’t neglect the main social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you gain a vibrant presence and voice on these platforms it could reap more rewards (in terms of bang for your buck) than any other channel out there.


This is our take on the best farm marketing tips this season. Again, if you found these tips useful then you would most likely enjoy Eric Gibson’s book even more.

To start taking action on growing your farming business today, download our free guide: The Step-By-Step Guide To Farm Marketing.

Best Farm Marketing Tips

 

4 Tips For Manufacturers Selling Direct To Consumers

Tips For Manufacturers Selling Direct To Consumers

In the modern world of business sales one thing is clear. Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait to sell direct to customers. Those who still rely solely on middle-men and vendors will soon find themselves taken over by manufacturers selling direct to consumers already.

It’s time for almost all brands to take at least a part of the sales process into their own hands. Consumer habits are changing quickly with technology. Manufacturers selling direct to consumers not only give themselves an upper hand, they preempt any glitches that could arise by leaving their brand image in the hands of third parties.

4 Essential Tips For Manufacturers Selling Direct To Consumers

Manufacturers selling direct know that the sales process is not a walk in the park. Still, it is worthwhile to invest some in-house resources towards the effort and reap the benefits of having direct interaction with your customers. Here are tips that are simple enough to get you started while you learn the tricks of the trade along the way.

(1) Manage The Experience

To start off on the right foot, manufacturers selling direct need to take control of the sales experience. Some customers prefer to buy from a retailer — both online and offline — but they will still check a manufacturer’s site for product information before the purchase. This is the point where you can increase your value by having more thorough info to guide the buyer’s journey. Having a brand site that is rich with content can provide an on-the-spot incentive to purchase. One thing to keep in mind is to not use a bolt-on eCommerce shop but to integrate commerce into your dot come site. It may take more time and be more expensive but will pay off in terms of SEO and user experience.

(2) Get Your Pricing Right

According to the Forrester and Digital River survey, manufacturers selling direct to consumers enjoy increased revenues. However, there’s a fragile line to tread when it comes to pricing. Customers may prefer to pay a slight premium for buying directly from manufacturers for a few reasons. (We’ll get into that in a moment.) But know that if your retail partners are selling the same item for 20-40% less than your list price, this could easily be perceived as an insult. Try to give your customer options by pricing that meets or is only slightly above the average retail price. They can choose the option that is most convenient for them and you can increase your brand image by giving them a further reason to purchase directly from you. This brings us to our next point.

(3) Offer A Unique Value Proposition

Manufacturers selling direct need to make sure that their brand experience provides the gold standard. Buying “officially” should always be the most rewarding option. The tactics for making this happen for brands are indeed very simple. Offer up branded coupons and programs for loyal buyers. Present point-of-action freebies and perks. (Need some ideas? Check out this blog.) These are the tidbits your retail partners can’t really afford to offer. Steer away from the false idea that these tactics may offend your retail partners. Instead, make it clear that you deserve to nurture and have access to your most loyal buyers.

(4) Sell Direct Through Group Buys

Why do you need a Groupon to host group buys? First of all, it may be a bad idea, and second of all, it’s quite easy to host your own branded group buys. Manufacturers selling direct should always have a group buy offer ready on their website. It’s (a) a way to spread word-of-mouth, (b) a means to get rid of items in bulk, and (c) a way to bring prices down — as in the case with BMW. Worth a mention is that today you can even organize a white label group buy with no extra fees. This is the kind of power that manufacturers selling direct need in their hands.


There is no reason why manufacturers should shy away from selling directly to consumers. All the tools you need are there and the market is shifting in favor of it. We offer one tool that can help you on all the points listed in this post. A free group buying platform that you can start using right now — no strings attached. If you want to learn more, download our free Group Buying Guide and get started today.

Group Buying Guide

 

Updating Your eCommerce Checklist For 2016

ecommerce checklist

If you run or are starting an eCommerce business today there are a few items you must check to ensure that your customers have the modern experience they expect from an eCommerce site. Here are 3 key features you need to implement to be certain your eCommerce checklist is complete.

This is a short list. Some of the features may seem obvious but make sure you take a little time and read through till the end. Learn how these features all meet in the middle.

eCommerce Checklist #1: Mobile Optimization

Mobile design and optimization must no longer be considered secondary, or an add-on, or something that you should do “too.” Today, it is actually desktops that are the secondary device. All of your marketing efforts should reflect that. Take a look at this mobile vs. desktop infographic if you want more insight. This is why we place mobile optimization as the first thing on this eCommerce checklist.

Your customers expect easy, seamless access, social sharing, and even fast payments from your platform. If you don’t have a mobile plan you will soon find your business being swallowed by the competition.

eCommerce Checklist #2: Blogging

Helpful content makes you stand out among other sites and shows search engines that you are more than just an eCommerce clone selling items. Write educational pieces and guides about the items in your stock. Make sure you publish some case studies or get product reviews.

All of this type of content will make you a source of knowledge in your sector. It will be useful for current customers to make buying decisions and for converting new prospects to your platform. If you think you’ve covered this one on your eCommerce checklist, double-check. See how you can improve your blogging tactics to drive more sales.

eCommerce Checklist #3: Group Buying Options

Gone are the days when a group buy meant that you had to pay huge fees to companies like Groupon. Now, you can find white label group buying platforms that can be used to host your own group buys and make a healthy profit. Group buys aren’t just a way to attract customers any longer. They’re a way to boost sales.

An option that will keep you ahead of the fray is making sure you offer great group buying deals on your site. As shopping becomes more social you can outdo other sites simply by hosting the right group buys for the right audience.

Update Your eCommerce Checklist Today

You won’t believe how quickly these 3 features can transform the quality of sales on your site. Understand how they all combine.

By making your site mobile friendly you ensure that your prospects can access your offers at any given time. Then, by having useful information on a blog, you can help inform a prospect’s buying decision. Think of an active blog as a good sales rep for your site. Finally, offering products in a manner that leaves the option open for social shopping is the golden nugget that can help your sales take off.

Want to break your sales record this season? Download our free guide to Group Buying and get started today.

Group Buying Guide

5 Collaborative Consumption Services To Try In 2016

collaborative-consumption-services

Why Collaborative Consumption Services?

At LetsPool! we’re strong believers in the sharing economy. Collaborative consumption kills two birds with one stone. It efficiently manages resources and it saves money.

As an element of the sharing economy, collaborative consumption gives you access to the commodities, experiences, and skills you want without the burden of ownership. Through collaborative consumption services, we can access the the lifestyle we want without waste.

With peer-to-peer sharing, we can restore a sense of community while making the most of our assets. This year, we’re encouraging you to dive into the sharing economy. Here are 5 collaborative consumption services that you should try the next chance you get.

(1) Couch Surfing

The term “couch surfing” actually pre-existed the popular Couchsurfing website. It refers to moving from one friend’s house to another, sleeping in whatever space is available for a few days before moving on.

Your parents or grandparents can probably tell you that in their days it was not uncommon to have a complete stranger ask for lodging during a road trip. Technology makes couch surfing easier and safer to handle. Next time you’re traveling, consider playing the role of the weary traveler. Couch surfing is one of the collaborative consumption services we can all give a try.

(2) Coworking

Studies anticipate that within the next few decades, location-independent professionals will comprise around 40% of the global workforce. Unleashed from their cubicles, these savvy self-starters crave collaboration, creativity, and most of all, community. They also happen to be big fans of collaborative consumption services.

Coworking focuses on shared workspaces available at the fraction of a solo office price. Each space has a different personality, and acts as a supportive community for motivated independents passionate about achieving success. You can join the global movement at Coworking.com.

(3) Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Luckily, today there’s no shortage of services that make it easy (and legal) to rent your own vehicle to neighbors as well as strangers. Studies have shown that car sharing schemes actually remove cars from the road, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in some cases, make the car owners a significant amount of extra income. Check out TechRepublic’s article on carsharing companies and learn more at The Carsharing Association.

(4) Out-tasking / Outsourcing

Apparently (slightly tongue-in-cheek), the world is becoming a busier place. This weighs heavily on the modern professional, nurturing house-spouse, and blah — everybody in general. While we’re waiting for really smart robots and/or octopus arms implants — one of the collaborative consumption services has to have a solution.

Yep. There is the growing concept of out-tasking. Websites like TaskRabbit, FancyHands, DoMyStuff and AgentAnything allow you to post an errand and get assistance to run it.

(5) Group Buying

The proposition here is very simple. If you want an item, and a vendor is willing to offer a discount for a certain number of units, why not buy it in a group? Groupon and LivingSocial popularized the group buying concept. But other startups are reworking the group buying concept to fit specific niches.

At LetsPool! we advocate creating buying groups so you’re always ready for a group deal opportunity. If you want to learn more about white label group buying you should download our free Group Buying Guide.


Through collaborative consumption services, you get to contribute towards keeping the planet healthy while saving money. To learn more about the benefits of collaborative consumption and especially group buying, we’ve put together an eBook in collaboration with Kadonation.

Understanding Benefits of Independent Group Buying

 

Gear Up For Auto Parts Sales With Social Selling

boost auto parts sales

Believe it or not, auto parts are one of the fastest growing e-commerce sectors. According to a comprehensive study by the Sydney Morning Herald, the average online automotive store saw a revenue increase of 89% – in one year.

There’s a huge demand for aftermarket car parts and accessories. But what are the best activities for an auto parts store to increase their sales online? There’s a lot of room for online marketing improvement. Here are three insights (with a bonus tip) to boost auto parts sales with social selling.

(1) Enthusiasts use “retro” social media to help the buying decision process: We discovered that a high percentage of auto parts sales targets participate in social media, but a very low percentage—2% to 4%—use it to make a buying decision. About 6 out of 10 use what you might call ‘retro social media’: automotive bulletin boards.

What does this imply? Content that you’re creating for modern social media channels should be ported over to automotive bulletin boards as well. There are thousands of these providing a window into active forums where your audience are more qualified leads than any other. To boost auto parts sales, this is the way to go.

(2) Connect with the right audience: If you want to boost auto parts sales online, there are three main audience categories you should be targeting.

a. Forum Owners — having access to the high number of actively engaged, qualified leads you’ll find in automotive forums is a big plus for boosting your auto parts sales. If you do your research, you’ll be able to connect with these forum owners on professional networks (LinkedIn) and more casual social networks (Facebook & Twitter). You’ll often find that these forum owners have also created groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

b. Automotive Bloggers — seeking out automotive bloggers, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter, can help you get the word out on upcoming product offers.

c. Leading Customers  — these are the ones who are the most actively engaged on social media, both retro and modern. They spearhead group buys and can generally be great influencers with the right incentives.

(3) Use Optimized Landing Pages: The easier you make it for a customer to buy from you, the more likely they will click your “add to shopping cart” button. To boost auto parts sales online, a good product landing page should:

  • Show an image of the part
  • Include a headline with the part name
  • Give a concise but detailed description
  • Include the auto part number
  • Give the auto part price
  • Have a clear, easy to see CTA (such as “Add to Cart”)
  • Have directional cues towards the CTA
  • Be free of friction (by reducing the number of CTAs and other distractions on the page)

(4) Bonus Tip — Organize Group Buys: Who doesn’t like getting a great deal on auto parts? Forum members are almost always on the lookout for the next great group buy opportunity. As a business marketer, you know the power of giving away discounts and deals.

To boost auto parts sales online, direct your prospects to a discount landing page on your website. Alternatively, you can leverage the power of white label group buying and direct your prospects to a simple group buy solution.

Boost Auto Parts Sales With Social Selling Today

We promise that you can start boosting your auto parts sales today with LetsPool! First, learn how white label group buys work and you can also download our free Group Buying Guide.

Next, create group buy pools for some of the items you want to get off your shelf. Finally, engage some of the audiences we outlined in this article and use LetsPool!’s sharing tools to engage them in your offers. With a few easy steps, you can start gearing up for a great 2016. Schedule a free consultation with us and we can help you get started today.

vendors-group-buying-tipsheet

White Label Group Buying Meets Social Selling

white label group buying

The ample praise bestowed on the big group buying sites like Groupon, BuyWithMe, and LivingSocial died down long ago. The horror stories of daily deals gone wrong for businesses killed the buzz. But don’t think for a second that group buying or group coupons were just a fad. We’ve only seen an introduction to a business model that has yet to mature. Remember, this isn’t the first time group buying was attempted online. In the near future, we’re going to see a shift to “white label group buying” applications.

What Is White Label Group Buying?

White label group buying is collective purchasing offered or initiated by individuals or organizations. This is directly in contrast with group buying facilitated through third-parties like Groupon. A glaring example of a white label group buying platform is right under your nose: LetsPool!

Why Will We See A Shift To White Label Group Buying?

The group buying concept at its purest makes a lot of sense. It’s an opportunity for people to make more of their financial resources when deciding how to access goods and services. At the same time, vendors can use group buying to get stock off the shelves in record time. It’s — ideally — a true win-win situation for everybody involved.

One of the biggest problems with daily deal sites as we’ve known them is high customer acquisition costs. But two things are on the verge of transforming the game. (1) White label group buying platforms, and (2) social selling.

When White Label Group Buying Meets Social Selling

Any vendor or individual with an online audience can make group buying work. Attract and engage customers with social selling. Organize group buys with white label technology. It’s this simple realization that will spin group buying (as we’ve known it) on its head. Some of the benefits of using white label group buying technology include:

  • Switching deals on/off on your schedule — not someone else’s — and avoid exclusivity contracts enforced by the likes of Groupon and their competitors.
  • Adjusting your offers based on key performance indicators, all of which are available in real-time.
  • Getting people to sign up for your deals (as opposed to Groupon’s), which allows you to capture and cultivate leads yourself.

Learn How To Combine Social Selling & White Label Group Buying

If you’ve gone through this article here’s the main takeaway. To boost your sales, learn how to combine white label group buying with social selling. If social selling is the future of marketing, group buying is the future of purchases. Finally, it’s one of the cheapest investments you can start making today to boost your sales. Get started with our free Group Buying Guide.

White Label Group Buying Guide

How To Start A Buying Group Successfully In 2016

Start A Buying Group

What Is A Buying Group?

Before we talk about how to start a buying group, let’s take a moment and understand exactly what it is. A buying group is a group of people who have come together to use their collective bargaining power or collective spending power. Usually, there are two types:

  1. A buying group of companies in the same industry, often called a group purchasing organization (GPO).
  2. A buying group of individuals in the same neighborhood, often called a buying club.

What Should I Start A Buying Group For?

Because of bulk ordering, if you start a buying group you can ask vendors for discounts. This presents an opportunity for people to make more of their financial resources when deciding how to access goods and services. You can start a buying group if you understand some of the selling points for such a group.

By organizing together as a single group, the members of a buying group are in a stronger position to negotiate with suppliers of goods and services. The aim is to increase affordability or availability of supply which provides a benefit to the members. Such groups are a form of “social enterprise”.

How Should I Start A Buying Group?

Step 1: Gather Information

Once you’ve decided to start a buying group, start gathering relevant information. Review exactly what advantages you’re offering before contacting potential members. You’ll need to develop a list of suggested vendor partners for the group. Once you’ve compiled enough information, you’ll be ready to make a pitch.

Step 2: Pitch To Potential Members

You will need to make a sales pitch to potential members. For this, you need facts at your fingertips. Some of the things you should point out:

  • A large group of buyers has bargaining power to reduce the cost of goods.
  • Ordering becomes easier because a group can streamline the ordering process through more efficient procedures.
  • A large ordering organization can establish stronger relationships with vendors, who will be more responsive because of the purchasing power of the collective.

Step 3: Set Up Group Staffing

When you start a buying group, it’s wise to designate position titles for various tasks. This way, members will know who to contact for specific concerns. Some of the tasks to keep in mind:

  • Ordering: who will contact the vendor to make orders?
  • Storage: who’s garage or warehouse — if necessary — will orders be picked up from?
  • Messaging: who will be in charge of keeping members of the group updated?

Step 4: Set Up A Platform

For a collective of companies wanting to start a buying group, you could consider an office space. Your group purchasing organization may need a place for staff to work. Keep this cost as low as possible, because it is a back office function that does not require contact with the public. You should be able to find a small space that is relatively inexpensive because you do not require signage or public access.

Another alternative — especially for buying clubs — is to set up a simple online platform. In our experience, we’ve seen that the best combination for a buying group is:

  1. A project management platform to assign and track tasks — we suggest Asana.
  2. A platform to host collective purchases, and manage funds — the best is LetsPool!

Start A Buying Group Today

For companies and individuals, there are several good reasons to start a buying group. With the right technology in place it is the smarter way to buy. Purchasing in groups can save up to 20% of your annual spending. Get a jump on starting a buying group in 2016 with our free Group Buying Guide.

Group Buying Guide

Rethinking The Group Buying Concept For 2016

group-buying-concept

The group buying concept should have been reworked years ago

Remember when the group buying concept virtually snatched the popularity away from all other e-commerce models? That day is long gone. Today, group buying is anything but sought after.

Group buying had success, but its diminishing value called for a different approach. Unfortunately, that call was never really answered by the leading companies in the sector.

With a new business calendar about to go up, we want to use the Internet’s time-traveling capabilities and rethink group buying. We’re going to visit some thought leaders and highlight the warnings that were ignored. Perhaps this can bring new inspiration for 2016.

Group Buying Concept Rework 1: Customize It

“Retailers adopted the idea without understanding the nature and needs of their customers. Mass offerings were created with no customization, aiming simply to reach as many people as possible to increase store or website visits and purchases. For many, this ate up their marketing budget, leaving no room for targeted outreach efforts.”

Dr. Islam Gouda

What Dr. Islam Gouda was thinking: Customer behavior is key in crafting any offer. What type of group do you aim to attract? Do you target customers with specific cultural backgrounds, genders, style preferences, lifestyles? Do you sell a product or service that friends might purchase together?

Retailers who control the type of visitors when planning a group buying offer typically have better sales. Mass selling doesn’t work; customer preference is what builds customer loyalty and frequency.

Group Buying Concept Rework 2: Focus On Social Selling

To get those 100 people buying your deals, you will need a database of happy customers, something that doesn’t come easily. Using email databases won’t work — you’ll end up on spam lists.

Jess Green

What Jess Green was thinking: To get real, dedicated and repeat buyers on any e-commerce website, you need a strong online (and some would argue offline) presence. You’ll need staff who can do the sales, add the content, do design and development work, and the list goes on and on.

The group buying concept was welcomed by small business who had neither the expertise or mailing lists to effectively offer discount solutions to their customers. So company’s should simply focus more on social selling. Group buying will become more easily incorporated into the workflow.

Group Buying Concept Rework 3: Group Buying is not Groupon

“Sucking value out of the small business market will ultimately damage the local merchants that are the bread and butter of Groupon’s base. Groupon’s model is not sustainable. In a race to the bottom everyone drowns.”

Bill Bice

What Bill Bice was thinking: The classic defense of Groupon’s financial arrangement is that it’s a reasonable cost to bring in new customers. However, Groupon’s own research once estimated a return rate of just 22%. Others have estimated a number much lower.

A study by Lightspeed Research shows that 63% of Groupons are purchased by existing customers. Just 2% of buyers who returned had never purchased from the merchant prior to the Groupon. So the merchant essentially gave away 75 cents for each dollar of business from the other 98%.

This point just reinforces the need for companies to focus more on their own social selling. All they would need then are tools to fuel the group buying concept most relevant to their market.

Group Buying Concept Rework 4: Customer Is King

“While these online flash sales certainly lure in bargain hunters, the untargeted nature of daily deals means that most shoppers are left wanting. It would be sheer luck for a shopper to come across a discount for a product they actually need on the same day that the merchant is trying to clear it. Group buying, as we know it, has missed the stickiest part of Tuángòu; customers organize the deal, not sellers.”

Abi Hatter

What Abi Hatter was thinking: Abi Hatter was thinking exactly what LetsPool! thinks. This collective bargaining model has been put into practice across a number of sectors with great success, most notably ‘The Big Switch’ campaign in which 200,000 people joined forces to secure cheaper energy tariffs.

We recently featured startups like Loop in our article 16 Group Buying Startups In 2015 You Didn’t Know. The group buying concept in some cultures is simply a way of life. Group buying is most exemplary when it serves a community need. When that need arises, customers should have access to a platform for handling group buys.

The New Group Buying Concept

Actually, the group buying concept that we’re advocating is more old than it is new. It’s a combination of social selling and social buying. This group buying concept is also extremely straightforward.

“Vendors that thrive in 2016 will be those that get up to speed with social selling. If your social selling is on point, it’s a small step to introduce your customers to social buying. No commission-mongering third parties or disappointments included.”

LetsPool!

vendors-group-buying-tipsheet

16 Group Buying Startups In 2015 You Didn’t Know

Group Buying Startups

Are Group Buying Startups Headed for An Early Grave?

Pundits around the world have said that group buying startups are all headed for an early grave. In truth, the Groupon and LivingSocial mimics are having a hard time surviving. Group buying in the “deal-of-the-day” sense is consistently seeing declining numbers.

However, there is a breed of group buying startups that are rethinking the entire trend. They have taken the inherent common sense and best practices from group buying and are restructuring it to fit certain niches. Dozens of group buying startups joined AngelList in 2015. This is an indicator of the possibility of a new wave of creative ideas for group buying.

16 Group Buying Startups In 2015

(1) Flocky: This is a great example of one of the group buying startups that focus on a particular niche. In this case, it’s baby products. Incubated at the Venture Institute in Mexico, Flocky seeks to increase affordability of baby products. If you’re a nursing parent, there’s an idea that could probably help you take a load off.

(2) Sellervision: If you haven’t heard about the “Ideas Man” — founder of Sellervision, Shed Simove — then read this article. Sellervision is an app that allows anyone to use their phone to record a 30 second video of themselves selling or promoting any product or service and post it as a listing.

Sellervision sells items at fixed prices only, but sellers know that they’re leveraging the power of groups through social media. That’s an incentive to sell at a modest price or a discount.

(3) Dukana: An app for Android and iOS devices which allows users to form social groups in which they can list, buy, sell, and rent goods and services. Groups which exist in a user’s daily life translate directly to Dukana groups.

We love this idea because wouldn’t we all feel more comfortable going into a group buy with our social circles? Think how much easier things like budgeting yoga classes would be for you and a group of friends!

(4) Kindwave: Harness your inner Don Corleone with this consumer-to-business oriented group buying platform that asks you to “Make an offer vendors can’t refuse.” Kindwave’s platform helps you find low prices, discover new products, gain insights to buying trends, and increase product intelligence. These are all essential components to the marketplace of the future. Definitely one of the group buying startups to keep an eye on.

(5) Kadonation: We’re from a culture that buys gifts in groups for special occasions like weddings, newborns, housewarmings, and birthdays. But in modern times with friends and family all over the place, this can get to be a bit of a hassle. Kadonation is an easy, quick and secure way to create a money pool and buy a gift in groups — they call it a “group gift”.

(6) eStork: Another one of the group buying startups that are focusing on a smart niche. eStork is a digital Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) that delivers risk-free medical device deals. In the hospital/medical supplier relationship, eStork cuts the waste maximizing the savings for all.

By negotiating bulk discounts with manufacturers, eStork can offer items at exceptional prices. The platform seeks to give hospitals a new way to save on high-quality items.

(7) BookinGroups.com: This platform provides a robust, free-to-use online booking tool that gives group travel planners a transparent and cost effective solution to get the best group rate from hotels and other suppliers. It aims to help groups (like companies or sports teams) more easily plan events, conferences, meetings, leisure and corporate travel, weddings and other groups events worldwide.

(8) GroopDoo: We’re a fan of the GroopDoo concept because it’s not about jumping on whatever deal pops up in your inbox. GroopDoo’s focus is actually to help peers pre-fund social activities. GroopDoo is still in development mode but sign up to get notified as soon as they go live.

(9) TeamTourist: A website for cruise passengers to easily find and share private tours at the different destinations they visit. For tourists on cruises, private shore excursions with a local guide are preferable to large group tours organised by the cruise lines. But they can be expensive.

By facilitating the sharing of these excursions, TeamTourist allows cruise passengers to save money while still enjoying the benefits of private and customized tours.

(10) Community Buying Group: Are you thinking about flipping a house? CBG helps real estate investors, property managers and contractors to save thousands on building materials and services they use every day from stores like Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams, Sears and others.

Through CBG’s pool purchasing infrastructure, members get better prices that they can’t get on their own as a small business. Registered members also have access to industry experts, educational materials, and local contractors to help them work on projects. This kind of group buying initiative has already gained popularity in India.

(11) Coinhab: People who are interested in building or renovating with others can connect on Coinhab. According to this group buying startup, by building or renovating apartments, constructing terraced houses or a group of individual houses, people save at least 30% in comparison with what’s already on the market due to the optimization and cost sharing.

Coinhab’s platform is built to grow interest groups around a piece of real estate and then connect that group with a developer.

(12) Bottles Trip: Now this is one of those group buying startups that must have been conceived over a bottle of wine (couldn’t resist the wordplay!). Bottles Trip offers a wine bottles delivery system between wine businesses or from business to consumer by using the large wine lovers community.

The fun part is that the “tripper” uses Bottles Trip’s website or mobile app to alert the community that he or she is in a vineyard and can bring back bottles without delivery costs. This can accelerate sales for the wine business and the “tripper” can make a little money too. Sounds thrilling — just remember not to taste too much wine before you drive home!

(13) Loop: Loop is a group buying platform for residents of buildings. Using Loop, neighbors can connect with one another online and leverage their collective buying power to save money on services and products for their homes. By coordinating purchases with other neighbors, residents achieve greater discounts and allow local businesses to serve them more efficiently.

Loop works with several cleaning companies that offer a 25% discount when they can schedule at least 3 units in a building for the same day. Pet services, grocery delivery, dry cleaning & laundry deals, etc. are all very popular on Loop. This is one of our favorite group buying startups in 2015.

(14) Twined: Have you ever spent hours trying to find that perfect product? Ever sifted through online reviews feeling like many of them were fake?

Twined handpicks “Tastemakers” from around the web based on their knowledge and integrity. The goal is to help buyers easily discover unbiased product reviews and recommendations from real, trustworthy people. We love Twined because it’s not leveraging the power of the group just to be cheap. It’s focusing on social so buyers can have quality.

 (15) Thrive GPO: Another one of the group buying startups that has identified an important niche. Thrive GPO is a cloud-based group purchasing organization created exclusively for the under-served non-profit industry.

Members access the platform to purchase common goods and services online at pre-negotiated prices, yielding significant savings over current practice and providing immediate impact on their public missions. Thrive GPO provides this service to members at zero cost.

(16) Bottlez: Okay, so what if we like wine? Bottlez (in beta) describes itself as a mix between Amazon, Taobao, Etsy and Farfetch, made specifically for the wine market, and with group buying functionality.

Bottlez is developing a platform that will allow any wine buyer (i.e. individual, on-trade and off-trade) to buy directly from any wine seller (any business with wine stock). Group buying will allow retail wine buyers in, say, China, to buy together from a producer in, say, California, at prices that are normally reserved for large volume importers.

Group Buying Startups Are Pivoting

Perhaps the real problem is that the term “group buying” has been slightly stained by daily deal sites and low ROI for companies dealing with the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial. But the group buying startups listed here are showing how the concept can be perceived in a more opportune light.

Group buying — not commercialized — is a sensible, economic way of life. Technology only enhances the way we experience it. Don’t forget that LetsPool! fits right in the ranks of these group buying startups. Our goal is simply to make the things that are important in life more affordable, and we provide the technology to make that happen.

If you’re interested in these group buying startups or want to learn more about how group buying can work in your life or business, download our free Group Buying Guide.

Group Buying Guide

4 Tips for Hosting Group Buys with Third Parties

hosting-group-buys-with-third-parties

Lucky vendors have impressed their peers with stories of amazing group buys. Hosting group buys with third parties helped boost sales, attract new customers, or get rid of a bunch of old stock.

Unfortunately the majority of vendors have not been so lucky. Do you know the vendor’s most common complaint about group buys?

We’re just not seeing return on investment.

Well, we believe in skill more than luck. Follow these tips for hosting group buys with third parties when you’re organizing your next pool purchase to increase your odds of success. Leave luck to the dabblers!

(1) Plan All The Way To The End

Did you know that an alarming 87% of vendors didn’t attempt thorough strategic planning before hosting a group buy with a third party? Where on earth did common business sense go?

Despite its appeal, group buying is one of those activities where you don’t just hop on the bandwagon. There are too many variables at stake. Customer acquisition costs, customer retention rate, and brand image are just some of the items you must see in black and white before making a single move.

(2) Bargain Like A Senior Negotiator

Here’s a blunt truth: you don’t need to pay those high commissions when you’re hosting group buys with third parties or middlemen. Don’t be afraid to haggle and get that commission to as low a point as is truly comfortable for you.

The main reason vendors complain about negative ROI is because they failed to calculate customer acquisition costs.

You’ve got options and trump cards to play. A daily deal site or middleman depends on your business. So keep a poker face and stare them down. They’ll fold.

(3) Leverage Social Media

Forbes published a solid fact you need to prepare yourself for especially since 2016 is around the corner. 78% of vendors using social media outsell their peers.

In fact, if you consider it critically, social media clout is one of the main advantages daily deal sites are leveraging. That commission you’re paying for is because of a company’s power to reach consumers. But who is better placed to reach out to your own customers than you?

Rip out a page from the daily deal sites’ social media strategy. Start building a social media rep for yourself. This will help at the bargaining table when you’re hosting group buys with third parties.

(4) Stay In Control

This point is actually related to planning all the way to the end. Consider it an elaborated emphasis. There are three principles to adhere to when you’re hosting group buys with third parties.

i) Time: Time is of the utmost importance in a group buy. Time builds pressure and encourages customers to join the pool.There is no smart goal without a time-frame.

ii) Target: Successful group buys have overwhelmingly been those that are clear on targets. Stipulate to your customers exactly what is needed to access the discount. Like time, this can help build momentum and referrals.

iii) Limit: Don’t be a nickel wise and a dollar foolish. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Does this sound like your wise uncle speaking? With group buys, you want to make it a habit to aim for the ribbon but stop at the finish line. When hosting group buys with third parties, learn not to allow them to sell you in too deep.

Hosting Group Buys with Third Parties the Skillful Way

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If you do see the potential of group buys but you’re not entirely sure how to steer yourself through, we recommend the following:

vendors-group-buying-tipsheet