The rise of Thailand’s Groupon clones
With the market set to take off in a major way, we’ve put together a guide to the group-buying phenomenon and the sites that are leading the pack.
What is group buying?The rise of group buying began with Amercian site Groupon, which promises to give its members “50 to 90 percent off the best stuff your city has to offer.”
The site, which has spawned an industry of related services, features a heavily discounted ‘deal of the day’ from partner companies that members can take advantage of.
The catch for Groupon members is that a deal is only authorized if a minimum number of members have committed to it. Here in Thailand, all of the Groupon-clones have abandoned this minimum interest policy and instead set a time limit for each deal.
Thailand lags behind many of its Southeast Asian neighbors -- for example it’s still a long way from Singapore’s advanced group buying scene -- though its daily deals are beginning to show potential.
Here is a list of the sites where you can find the best bargains:
EnsogoThe hook: "Ensogo.com offers daily deals from 50 percent to 80 percent off the best things to do, see, eat, and buy around Thailand."
What it is: Ensogo is arguably the biggest group buying fish in the Thai pond, having recently received a handsome US$2 million in fresh investment from Europe.
The company is focused on the Southeast Asian region, offering deals from countries other than just Thailand, though those from Thailand are broken down across 10 different areas including Bangkok (six locations), Chiang Mai, Phuket and others.
It's growing in popularity. Ensogo Thailand already has a big following with more than 10,000 Facebook fans and a regular pipeline of deals.
Sample deal: Pay 90 baht for a coffee and bakery item at Catch Up Cafe worth 200 baht.
Links: Ensogo.com, Facebook page, Twitter
The hook: "Offers made social, never miss a deal again."
What it is: O.ffer.us wins the award for most ridiculous name, so we recommend bookmarking over trying to remember the site URL.
The content and style are different to Ensogo. The deals offered are typically of higher value than other sites though O.ffer.us uses neither the minimal user interest policy nor time limits with its offers.
Offerus made a big splash when it launched earlier this year however new content has slowed and the latest deals are dated back to June. When we asked what’s up, the management confirmed all will be back to normal soon.
Sample deal: 50 percent off Swedish or aromatherapy massage at Chivit Chiva spa.
Links: www.O.ffer.us, Facebook page, Twitter
All Deals Asia
The hook: "Your friendly one stop shop for all the deals happening in your favourite Southeast Asian City."
All Deals Asia is a Singapore-based site which aggregates deals from prominent daily deals sites across the Southeast Asian region including Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia.
The dedicated Thailand page was launched at the start of September and, though currently the content is limited, the site's management are keen to increase the offers and also advertise non-daily deal offers within the website too.
Currently the Thai content is just offers from Ensogo though it does other advertised deals in conjunction with its daily deals. All Deals Asia is one to watch if it can grow its Thai content to anything near the size of its Singapore offering.
Sample deal: 67 percent off top designer light fixtures at BanBaan Lighting; 990 baht instead of 3,000 baht.
Links: Alldealsasia.com, Facebook page, Twitter
The hook: They say lots of things in Thai ... for now
Sanook needs no introduction in Thailand, as Sanook.com is the most visited Thai language website.
Within Sanook.com’s vast array of services and features is Sanook Coupon, a service launched two months ago. The service will remain in Thai and beta mode “for the near future,” a Sanook spokesperson told us, however signs suggest there may be grander plans ahead.
The sheer size and reputation of the brand in Thailand, combined with recent investment exceeding US$10 million from Chinese media giant Tencent, give Sanook Coupon a huge platform and competitive advantage to grow from as it has the potential to dominate the group buying market in Thailand.
It will be interesting to see how its strategy develops.
Sample deal: 50 percent off -- pay 300 baht for 600 baht's worth of drinks at Around The Corner, Thonglor.
Links: Coupon.sanook.com, Facebook page