After hearing about how successful group coupons sites like Groupon has become in the U.S., I thought it would be interesting to try and create my own site. Since Groupon focuses on the US and Europe, there are plenty of opportunities to set up your own site in an area that Groupon doesn’t operate in, or in a different vertical or niche.
I wasn’t half surprised when I searched on “Groupon clone” to find several companies selling website clones of the popular site.
A company called Agriya have a script that looks promising. I emailed the company for a quote and they said it would cost around $1200. A little out of my budget for what I would want to spend.
Grouponclone.biz has a script for just $200 and the site has an online demo, although it is difficult to know if the script operates as expected. When buying these kinds of scripts, I like to see if the site has a support forum, which gives you some idea of the install base and the level of support from the programmers. In this case there is no forum.
Grouponclone.com looks like another promising script. It still looks fairly new and is priced at $399.
If you aren’t familiar with how Groupon works, they have some good videos on their website explaining in detail how their website helps businesses.
One of the problems of launching such a site, is the classic chicken before the egg dilemma. How can you convince companies to use your service if you don’t have traffic going to the site and how to get people to subscribe to your site if you don’t have some great deals already going.
Groupon collects the money when people buy an offer and then distributes it to the company if the offer becomes valid. It’s something that I think would be difficult to get going without having some kind of trust happening already between your customers and advertisers.
My thought to get a site going was to just set up a site where companies could create printable coupons and you could make it free initially and then charge later if the site became successful. At the same time you could also build up an email list where people would get automatic emails of new coupons available.
I thought it would be easy to find such a script, but most of the scripts seem to be suited for online coupons. I wanted to create something that people would print out and take to a store as I would be operating a site where internet is not so widely used in business.
After spending a few hours searching, Coupon Press which works with WordPress seems to offer one of the better valued solutions. It’s $79 and it looks to have a good install base and support, judging from the activity on their forum.
There is a free extension available for Joomla which I did try, but it just looks too basic.
So while it might seem fairly easy to set up your own group on type business, you still have to think how you plan to get traffic and people to actually using your service.