LivingSocial Quadruples Inventory, Moves Away From Daily Deals
Just one day after promoting a deal that offered its members a trip to a flood-stricken part of Colorado, daily deals company LivingSocial announced that it has increased its range of travel offerings.
LivingSocial increased its travel inventory by 650 percent earlier this month, according to a company press release. That massive uptick in properties and tours for travel-minded consumers may have led to the unfortunate timing of that featured deal.
Small-business owners outside the tourism industry may perk up at the news that LivingSocial has quadrupled its overall deal inventory in the past three months. Tim O'Shaugnessy, the company's chief executive, said in the release that LivingSocial was leaving behind its identity as "a daily deal company" and becoming "a real marketing partner for merchants."
What does that mean? For one thing, it means that merchants can take part in long-term promotions, increasing their visibility and, at least theoretically, reaching more customers. LivingSocial also announced enhanced analytics that will help merchants to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns and provide new information on user engagement, purchasers and payments. Merchants will also now be able to respond immediately to customer feedback.
LivingSocial is trying to make itself more attractive to customers as well. Its redesigned website and apps make it easier to search for the type of deals you want, according to the release.
Groupon, LivingSocial's largest rival and the No. 1 daily deals site, is also transitioning away from its old business model into long-term promotions. Groupon already has features in place similar to those announced by LivingSocial today, including the ability to reply directly to customer feedback.
Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.