Groupon-style websites have lately been exploding at Penn and on an international scale.
Websites include the Penn-centric Crowdquest.com — launched about three weeks ago — and Lootsa.com, which launched March 30. Additionally, 2006 Wharton and Engineering graduate Kunal Bahl started SnapDeal.com in India last February.
Marketing professor Steve Hoch wrote in an email that the boom of discount websites targeted towards students can be attributed to the following: price-sensitive students; the availability of sales reps — the students themselves, in these cases; businesses with “slack capacity” that can operate competitively; general awareness of the “Groupon buzz”; and the novelty of these sites.
Wharton and College sophomores Jonathon Youshaei and Mimoun Cadosch Delmar started working on Crowdquest last August while studying abroad in Morocco.
“We’ve worked to get deals specifically where Penn students go and might find interesting,” Youshaei said, “as opposed to Groupon deals about laser hair removal, half-off portraits and landscaping services.”
Crowdquest claims to have saved the Penn community $3,931 dollars, with the total going up by the second.
“It’s the ultimate win,” said Cadosch Delmar, who explained that the site is beneficial for both vendors and the Penn community.
“Much of what we ‘consumers’ spend is spent … not far from where we live, Marketing professor David Bell wrote in an email. “Groupon-type sites connect us to local places and many times expose us to new things … that we might not otherwise know about.”
Through Crowdquest, over 250 students have received a voucher for a half-off meal at Baby Blues BBQ at 3402 Sansom St. The site’s current deal is $7 off a $17 meal from Kitchen at Penn.
“We’re a new restaurant,” said Steven Fischer, who opened the restaurant five months ago. Crowdquest “had a pretty good idea for us to reach the Penn students and faculty using new, relevant technology beyond what we were capable of doing,” he added.
Similarly, Lootsa.com offers Penn students group discounts on campus retail. Currently, the site offers a half-off deal with newly opened TBowl at 3716 Spruce St.
Founder and 2004 Wharton graduate Sona Karia assembled a team of both Penn alumni and current Penn students for her venture, to “bridge the gap between vendors and the college population,” she said.
Bahl capitalized on this growing trend at its start with SnapDeal in his home country of India. The site has grown in the last six months to become the 22nd most trafficked site in India, Bahl wrote in an email.
“The target audience for SnapDeal is college students and young professionals,” Bahl wrote, adding “India has 50 percent of its population below the age of 25 years old. This audience has great aspirations for trying out new experiences, and SnapDeal provides them a way to get deals on such experience.”
Though the Groupon-craze is at its height, many remain skeptical of the model’s long-term staying power. Marketing professor Christophe Van den Bulte wrote in an email that the “puzzle is that businesses use the Groupons even though many lose their shirt” in offering such large discounts.
“Maybe there is something that they can change in the long run, but who knows?” Hoch added.Comments powered by Disqus
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