Dealing with people's love of a deal
Peter Duffy: "People are really only interested in deals and discounts. Thats why they follow or like companies."
START-UP NATION: Mysales.ie:MySales.ie harnesses the power of social media to allow retailers to better target their audience
A deal a day keeps the overdraft away. So goes the slogan of recently graduated Peter Duffy’s online sales and deals directory MySales.ie.
Duffy, who was named Student of the Year by the Marketing Network last year, came up with the idea while studying for a degree in energy engineering at UCC.
“The idea came about when I was passing one of my favourite shops in Cork, and saw they had a half price sale on that I never knew about. I went in but all the good stuff was gone as the sale had been going on several weeks. I wished I could have heard of the sale sooner.”
While Duffy had done some coding as part of his final year energy engineering project, he enlisted the help of other UCC students to develop the site.
“From a graphics point of view, I got a friend who was studying architecture to help me. I didn’t have a massive budget as I was still in college so I utilised the skills of other students I knew to create the site.
“I then started contacting shops saying I was launching the site. The ads are currently free for the shops, to get them on the site and get traction. We will start charging shortly though.”
Through the research, he found businesses were having to put a lot of effort into maintaining their social networking sites.
“They can’t just let them go idle and post nothing for ages. They have to continuously engage with their fans/followers. However, at the end of the day, people are really only interested in deals and discounts. That’s why they follow or like companies.”
Duffy said he discovered many businesses owners found technology and social media difficult to use following market research.
“We know how to use social media whereas many business owners don’t so we made the site very easy for them. I wanted everything to be really simple and basic. You don’t need lots of fancy details, you need functionaility.
“All a business has to do is go to our website and fill out an ad template. They put in the title of the promotion, keywords, photos and a description. The ad then goes live with one simple click.”
Many shops were turning to well-known daily deal sites to promote their deals and businesses, but this was very costly, according to Duffy. “The likes of Groupon costs stores a lot of money as they have to give significant discounts on their products. The site also leverages the use of social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, allowing people to share deals with their friends.”
Marketing is fundamentally a two-way dialogue and just about every conceivable social opportunity throws up a change to engage in one.
“A massive aspect of the site is encouraging people to share ads via social networking sites. It’s the online equivalent of word of mouth. If an ad comes from a friend it is a much stronger recommendation.”
The site, which launched properly at the beginning of February following several weeks beta testing, has been experiencing 250 visitors at any one time. It is aimed at everyone but was initially targeted at students as the launch coincided with UCC rag week.
At present, it displays the latest sales, deals and discounts in a user’s locality, but Duffy hopes to allow businesses to sell directly to customers through the site also. Users will also be able to receive newsletters containing just the deals they are interested in.
“You might like restaurant deals such as two main courses for the price of one, but not be interested in any other deals. You can select to receive only notification of restaurant deals in your locality. That way you are not being spammed with lots of deals.”
For the moment, Cork is the main location for all the deals, but Duffy plans to expand to other cities and counties in the coming months.