The international phenomenon of social buying has burst onto the scene in South Africa and is taking the discount revolution directly to the doors of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Leading the way, Wicount.co.za, South Africa’s largest social buying website, in terms of deals done and its online audience, smashed sales targets by bringing over 1500 new customers to Mangwanani African Spa through their latest promotion. Wicount offered 50% off a full body massage at any of their seven branches nationwide.
Jocelyn de Bruyn, Group Marketing and Sales Manager from Mangwanani African Spa described Wicount as an ideal platform to introduce new clients to the Mangwanani Spa experience. “We have found that the returns on this partnership have been beyond our expectation and to add to it they offer such a personalised service, with the CEO meeting with us himself to set up the deal,” she said.
Wicount is part of a growing trend where a group of international companies have revived so-called “group buying”, using the collective purchasing power of a group of consumers to negotiate better rates from goods and service providers. The catch, however, is that customer’s only get the deal if a certain number of people purchase the deal before the offer ends. Wicount has succeeded in harnessing the power of the internet and focusing their efforts on local goods and services that are rarely marked down. By using the web as a tool for customer interaction there is the advantage of tapping into and spreading the word to thousands of other potential customers via the use of other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
In today’s market, every business in South Africa should be tapping into the huge online social network audience, explained Aaron Toys CEO of Wicount.co.za. “The problem for most businesses is finding a way to market themselves without pouring money and time down the drain,” he explains “Every day, Wicount features local businesses, both large and small, which include popular spas, restaurants, leisure and entertainment providers and we’ve already had widespread success in a short amount of time.”
“Social buying is proving itself to be very compelling from a business and marketing standpoint,” continues Toys, “It resonates with people by not only encouraging them to make a quick purchase, but also by using their online social networks to share great offers with their friends. It is a simple way for all businesses to drive new customer acquisition and increase the awareness of their brand. Most businesses cannot afford to not be involved since there’s no cash out of pocket - we take all the risk because we know we can deliver the ROI that a business wants. ”
The Mangwanani Spa deal is an example of the record breaking sales that can be created through the use of social buying which, relative to the input required, delivers explosive results. Other popular deals have included promotions for clients such as Toyota MTN Cycle Park, Tanz Cafe, Global Wraps, Karma Kooking, Doppio Zero (JHB & CPT), Luca’s Restaurant, NetFlorist, The Waterfront Boat Company (CPT) and the Barnyard Theatre.
Ryan Bacher, Managing Director of NetFlorist said, “We recently ran a promotion through Wicount, which we found to be a very effective marketing channel and we’re looking forward to our next Wicount promotion in the near future.”
On keeping customers coming back, Aaron Toys says, “We pride ourselves on delivering web-savvy clients with disposable income who want to discover their city – exactly what businesses want. We put together offers that work for both the business client and the customer, to create a successful, collaborative and fun deal. To date we have featured more than 200 businesses on Wicount and we have become the primary marketing channel for many of them.”
“I would definitely recommend any business, large or small, to engage the power of social buying with experts such as Wicount.co.za,” continues Jocelyn De Bruyn from Mangwanani, “One of the best things about the campaign was that there was no out of pocket expense for us; Wicount.co.za guaranteed us a minimum number of new clients and we received over R130 000 at the conclusion of the promotion. Although we offered this at a greatly reduced rate, this promotion was fantastic from both a customer acquisition and a cash flow point of view.”
Now that Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria are operating, the distribution and access to Wicount.co.za is national. It’s only a matter of time before every business in South Africa is tapping into the discount revolution.