By Aimee Chanthadavong

Jumping on the succeeding bandwagon of group buying websites, location-based deals are expected to be the next phenomena in retail marketing, taking advantage of the growing adoption of smart phones.

Consumer review website has already seen over 27,500 consumers download its location-based deals app and over 2,500 discount deals being offered by retailers  in just less than four weeks of release.

The app enables customers to search, locate and review local businesses for free while uncovering the latest deals and discounts that are being offered by retailers. 

Speaking to RetailBiz, TrueLocal CEO John Allan, said the company’s location-based service gives users access to any business within Australia whether that be an independent or large retailer like Woolworths or Myer.

“I think compounded with a stronger Australian dollar, people taking opportunities to purchase online internationally and people becoming cost conscious, we’ve got a pretty big shift in consumer behaviour for retail. This is where we have to sit and try to help retailers – not only the big retailers but small to medium retailers who can’t perhaps afford an online website portal – market themselves on the web,” he said.
“Our research still shows that people want to shop locally but one of the problems is that some products are just cheaper to buy on an international website. So, if retailers can offer some sort of price differentiation then it will encourage consumers to shop locally.

“We give every retailer a free webpage, free content, and they can upload a deal for free so that in a sense when they can’t afford to have a website, such as the smaller retailers, it creates a slightly better playing field.”

Users can refine searches by business type with one tap and sort easily according to proximity, popularity or name. The app also allows a consumer on the move to post their own reviews using their TrueLocal or Facebook log in.

“What we understand about the Australian deal space is that smart phones are creating the smart shopper so if they can show their deals through their phones rather than taking a cut out coupon, it just puts them ahead of the curb and takes away that stigma,” Allan said.

He also highlighted that by offering on-the-spot deals as a form of ‘smart marketing’ it encourages people to trial their products.

“We’re seeing a lot of people offer value-added deals such as buy this product and get something value added. Of course every retailer is trying to make sure it holds up their margin. In other sectors like bars and restaurants, we’re seeling a lot of buy one get on free meals or 20 per cent off deals,” Allan said.

“It’s all about everyone using different deals whether that is offering value added or discounts. Businesses can control and improve their deals based on responses.”

Trailing not far in grabbing a piece of this market is Facebook, which launched Facebook Deals in the US last November. It expanded its offering in January to Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. No dates have been confirmed for when Facebook Deals will be available in Australia, but Australian Facebook users are already being encouraged to subscribe.

Also, there are rumours that the new joint venture between Salmat and Roamz will deliver a similar location-based service.

So, perhaps this is the year for retailers to get onto location-based marketing.