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There’s strength (and savings) in numbers

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By Katelyn O’Riordan

Two new Websites are making headway in more and more cities across the country, bringing consumers together to leverage the power of group purchasing.
Collective buying Websites Groupon ( and BuyWithMe ( feature daily deals on everything from restaurants, museum memberships and sporting events to spas, city adventure tours and wine tastings. And since Aug. 1, both sites offer exclusive deals in San Diego.
Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon, has chosen to focus on one deal per day in order to maintain simplicity, and to make sure that the featured deals are for the best things to eat, see and buy in cities across the United States. Groupon even has an editorial team that performs research on business and consumer reviews to ensure that only the most favorable companies are represented.
“Applying collective buying towards the time span of the day and towards something local creates a ‘win-win’ situation for both businesses and customers. It creates a situation where people are getting the things that they already do at a great price, while also being exposed to new things that they have wanted to try at a price that is impossible to refuse,” Mason said.
Here’s how it works: These sites offer a daily promotion available to shoppers within a specific time period. A set minimum number of individuals must commit to the offer during this set time period before it can be redeemed. Once the minimum number of customers has been met, the customers are awarded their voucher and the deal is in place.
“As somebody who lives in a big city, there is so much to do, and so many cool choices, that sometimes the choices can be overwhelming, and as a result you end up either doing nothing or doing the same things instead of getting out to try something new and affordable that your city has to offer,” Mason said. “I wanted to create a business that I would want to be a customer for. Everything about Groupon is a reflection of what we think is fun.”
A current deal at Groupon features $25 for $50 worth of food and drink at Enoteca Style, an upscale café and lounge in Little Italy. But studies of Groupon’s buying habits show that the average tab spent is actually 60 percent greater than the Groupon’s value and that most participants are first-time customers, an attractive proposition for restaurants.
By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, these sites are able to offer local deals that aren’t available anywhere else. “We have already saved more than $250,000 for consumers in Boston and D.C., so we’re eager to bring this saving power to the people of San Diego,” Josh Elwell, chief executive officer of, said. “By getting people together, offers one-of-a-kind local deals for San Diego’s top-tier products, services and activities.”
Current deals at BuyWithMe include a $12 buy (two admissions for the price of one) to Kid Ventures, a San Diego indoor play center and a “parent’s café” offering specialty coffees and a family menu. The site announced that the main goal was reached: additional customers are still welcome. Or, customers can sign up for three different deals with Changes Salon & Day Spa in Carmel Valley, including a single process color, cut and styling for $65 (an $80 savings). Another deal is a kayak tour of the Seven Seas Caves in La Jolla for $37.50; a 50 percent savings. The “main goal” is reached, so anyone signing up for the deal is guaranteed the savings.
Both sites feature deals for popular destinations including East Village Tavern & Bowl, Torrey Pines Golf Course, Sea Rocket Bistro, La Jolla Kayak and more. z

To find out more on upcoming deals, visit and

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