Avusa Media launched its challenge to Groupon today. Called Zappon [www.zappon.co.za], the group deals site has the full weight of the company’s popular newspaper titles behind it.
General manager of AvusaLIVE, Elan Lohmann, told TheMediaOnline that Avusa is “confident that we can build a solid business in this territory irrespective of the competition”.
Groupon, the globally famous collective online buying company, hit South Africa in January this year.
“We anticipate much competition since it is an exciting space but most importantly the model is a twist on building audience and selling advertising in a new way – which is a core competency of ours. Since you asked, Groupon has much work to do in SA. It does not cross borders like Google, Facebook and YouTube have since they are technology businesses. This business is gritty, face-to-face and deals have to be done with small suppliers who hardly use the Internet. We do not believe it is a winner takes all game,” Lohmann says.
Lohmann said that the switching cost for a user is low and they will want choices in this space. “Our focus is not on Groupon or any other competitor but on our business plan which tells a promising story if we focus and get it right. In terms of differentiating the offer, for a start we offer two million readers per day to our suppliers via print, direct mail and digital channels. What will matter is supplying consistently good deals.
“We have been selling off a Powerpoint presentation until now and if launch is smooth we believe we will attract even better deals as we begin to prove ourselves. And we have a young, bright hungry team – which is important. We got this all off the ground in less than three months so there are known risks at such a big bang launch approach but I decided that the biggest risk was not to jump in quickly,” he explained.
Lohmann said that subscribers to Avusa titles invloved – The Times, Sowetan, Sunday Times – won’t receive better deals than non-subscribers.
“Anyone who signs up to Zappon is as important and valuable as the next. Our mission is to bring them the best deals. We have a number of plans in the pipeline to reward our loyal customers even more.”
Zappon has launched a mere two and a half months after the project was initiated. The idea of ‘marrying advertising and retail’ formed the kernel of the project, especially considering the size of the already established readership of the Avusa titles. In the vein of similar ‘daily deal’ offerings, Zappon will advertise a new deal each day via the various channels, all targeted to different cities. Deals will range from 40-90% off and are typically at least 50% off.
In a press release issued this morning, Lohmann said: ““From an advertising perspective, we definitely have a competitive advantage. Not only do our existing advertisers and suppliers inherently trust our brands but we are currently offering clients massive media exposure to roughly two million readers a day via print, direct mail, website and social media channels – all at no charge. Which other group-buying platform can offer the credibility and trust that brands such as Sunday Times can provide, at no cost?”
Lohmann said Zappon has “access to diverse audience through our titles”.
He told TheMediaOnline: “The idea is to experiment with a known winning formula and see what sticks. I do believe the SA market will turn out to be much more than restaurants and beauty treatments. The options for deals are limitless. Anyone who offers a product or service and needs more business is a potential partner.”