They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’m not sure Groupon felt the love when they saw Walmart’s new marketing plan on Facebook.
They call it the “CrowdSaver,” and guess how it works. When a deal reaches a certain customer threshold, the deal is unlocked and everyone gets to buy in for a discounted price. The only difference between Walmart’s CrowdSaver and Groupon (and it’s a big one) is the upfront money.
When you choose a deal on Groupon, you’re committed to buy provided that the deal hits the threshold. (I’ve always wondered what percentage of deals never hit the mark. . .. ) Walmart isn’t looking for your credit card info or a purchase promise. All you have to do to join the deal on their Facebook page is “like” the deal.
Big deal. With no commitment, sure people are going to click, why not? What is Walmart gaining here?
A headache, if you ask me. Here’s why. The current deal, a Plasma TV for a measly 18% off has reached its 5000 “likes” threshold. The deal is now active — only, it’s not. If you click through on the buy button, you’ll be charged the full price. If you look at the comments, people are doing this and they’re frustrated. You have to read the whole ad to see that the price won’t actually go into effect until “later this week.” Meaning, if you want it, you have to keep hitting Walmart’s Facebook page to check.
From Walmart’s POV, I can see the power here. They’ve created a scenario that appears to be time sensitive and plays into the “part of the group” mentality. For the consumer, this is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The deal isn’t much of a deal at all and the promise of unlocking it when it hits a benchmark is lie. It’s just another TV on sale this weekend at Walmart. But the clever marketing folks have made 5,000 people believe that they made it happen.
Once the novelty wears off, I’m betting CrowdSaver will have a short shelf-life.
What do you think of Walmart’s CrowdSaver program? A clever marketing ploy or a poor imitation of the real thing?