By Aimee Chanthadavong

Customers can now get a ‘leg up’ into what deals they should buy and where with the launch of, a site dedicated to enable customers to review and share their experiences based on customer service, value and quality.

Group buying sites now account for $500 million in revenue a year, but the rapid growth of the industry has also bought with it an exponential growth in the number of complaints from customers, including poor customer service and even deals not being fulfilled.

While the recent introduction of ADMA’s (Australia Direct Marketing Association) Group Buying Code of Conduct is meant to set provisions for group buying sites, Nic Ferraro, co-founder of GROOBI told RetailBiz the website empowers customers with knowledge that will help them make more informed decisions.

“At the end of the day it comes from word-of-mouth. I think now that the industry is wide spread a lot of people of daily deal customers are becoming weary and have been burnt at least once and this provides them the opportunity to help the industry,” he said.

“During our research they said they were adamant they would never purchase a deal again. With GROOBI it says there are some retailers who are doing the wrong thing but there’s a vast majority who are doing the right things. Using Groobi allows customers to see that point of difference.”

Whilst other review sites allow customers to review restaurants and other services, one of the main areas of complaint is the differential treatment of group buying customers to regular customers, which means these review sites do not give a true indication of the type of service customers can expect.

“I think there is a minimum level of service that is expected. A lot of the complaints show they are quite extreme – some aren’t picking up calls or are providing a very small window of opportunities to use the purchased coupons,” Ferraro said.

“The expectations aren’t set especially within Australia. But I do expect 95 per cent of customers that purchase at a cheaper price expect a minimum level of service. If I’m buying it cheaper I understand I can’t get a booking during peak periods but I expect that service to still be at a certain standard.”

So there’s a lesson to be learnt here for retailers as well.

“The key message we’re providing to retailers is they could use to improve their services based on customer feedback,” Ferraro said.

GROOBI allows customers to rate, compare and share customer experience with others, whilst also scoring group buying sites based on the quality of the deals they provide, to ensure they continue to provide customers with top notch deals.

It covers industries from food and dining to hair and beauty and health and fitness. Customers can search by group buying site or daily deal provider and can view deal provider contact details and location via Google maps. Customers can read past reviews, write their own reviews and even share these on Facebook and Twitter.

The website is currently in customer preview phase and available to Sydney and Melbourne group buying customers only.

Ferraro said they are also working a mobile application version of the site to allow customers to add reviews and retailers to the site while on the go.