Monday, October 3, 2011

    Daily deal folly at UCSD or just a genius marketing ploy?

    I thought the daily deals marketing concept pioneered by Groupon had already been thoroughly debunked.  However, when I got back to UCSD I heard my friends buzzing about a new daily deals site called Munch On Me.  According to TechCrunch, Munch On Me is an YC startup that is the "Groupon for food."   The “key” difference and advantage Munch On Me has over Groupon is that it gives deals on specific items rather than dollar amounts letting restaurants stock up on a particular item, which leaves them much more prepared to handle the spike in traffic.  It looks like they just recently expanded to San Diego and are offering quite a lot free items on their site.   Munch On Me has even managed to get my on campus Tapioca Express on board.  For over a week, the UCSD Tapioca Express is offering a free pearl milk tea with no purchase necessary. 

    I question what Tapioca Express hopes to accomplish out of this promotion.  The theory behind daily deals is that by driving a massive amount of traffic to a store through a “too good to be true” deal, will result people in discovering the store and then turn them into repeat customers once they realize how awesome the store is.  Munch On Me must have a great sales team to be able to convince Tapioca Express that it needed to be discovered, considering that it is the only milk tea shop on campus with the next closest one being a 10 minute drive, 20 minute bus ride or 30+ minute walk from the center of campus.  In other words, if you are on campus at UCSD, you do not have a choice but to go to Tapioca Express for your milk tea, making the act of running a free milk tea promotion with no purchase necessary, sort of a puzzle.  I reckon money would have been better spent on something as simple as a flyer.       

    This promotion only makes sense, if Munch On Me is paying Tapioca Express for the promotion in order to drive traffic to the site.  As one of the most highly trafficked stores on campus, a Tapioca Express promotion would drive a lot of traffic from UCSD students to Much On Me.  It would be an ingenious way to get that word of mouth effect going overnight.