Group buying set to excite online shoppers

Has online shopping ever been interesting, exciting and fun? Probably not that much. That’s certainly the view of a couple of online price comparison pioneers who helped develop Kelkoo and have just launched Keynoir to address this problem.

Each day an offer appears on the site that requires a minimum number of people to make a purchase before it is ‘tipped’ and the offer is unlocked. On the first day it got off to a flying start with an offer of a £150 meal at Michelin-starred restaurant Tom Aikens for a bargain £79 that needed 50 takers to be tipped but such was demand that the full 100 available were sold.

Michelin stars and group buying come together at Tom Aikens restaurant

Day three saw £57 of upmarket chocolate from Melt on offer for £39 but this failed to excite enough members and was not tripped. Such a failure makes no money for Keynoir while a sell-out is good business as it charges its clients for the advertising value that they accrue from an offer being emailed to its members.

These members can be any Tom, Dick or Harriet admits Glen Drury, co-founder of Keynoir, but he reckons they will be a self-selecting bunch (being tempted by the relevancy of the offers) and therefore have a big value to brands. These brands can be retailers, restaurants, bars etc…with the key aspect being the quality of the deal they are able to put forward to Keynoir’s members.

This sort of one-offer-per-day, first-come-first-served mechanic looks set to become increasingly popular as social networking enables such group buying-type operators to quickly build-up memberships, and people today want a bit more excitement when buying things online. This model provides a ‘game’ element to purchasing over the internet.

It’s unlikely that Dixons and Keynoir will get into bed anytime soon but more exclusive retailers looking to expose their brand to new customers, or restaurants looking to flog those final 20% of seats that are the hardest to fill, might find some mileage in Keynoir and other such me-too operators that are likely to emerge in its wake.