How Daily Deal Sites Compete: Lessons from Sharing Spree

July 23, 2011

12:00 pm

With the daily deal market overflowing, how can new entrants possibly hope to compete?Sharing Spree, which combines deals with charity like Deals for Deeds, can teach us a thing or two. The site has expanded to three cities and donated over $152,000 to nonprofits in a year. Users pick from around 150 charities to receive a portion of their purchases, and Sharing Spree rotates featured charities that get 10 percent of its profits. Those range from more famous causes like the American Cancer Society and Meals on Wheels to small, local nonprofits.

Sharing Spree remains competitive by serving its target demographic: women. Deals like massages and facials, baked goods, and trampoline playtime for the kids are alluring “impulse buys,” says Dana Free, Sharing Spree’s director of nonprofit relations. Women, who consistently volunteer at higher rates than men, also enjoy contributing to causes. Free herself has been volunteering at nonprofits and her children’s schools for 14 years.

The name “Sharing Spree” is also designed with women in mind; the company was originally called myEZdeal, which Free says has a “harder edge” to it. The team was somewhat apprehensive about the change—which also included a website redesign—but post-pivot growth quickly eased their worries, and subscribers are up 500 percent since January.

Now, Sharing Spree has its eyes on a fourth city, Fort Wayne, Indiana, which fits into its focus on the small- to medium-sized markets of Portland, Birmingham, and Nashville. (Deals for Deeds, in contrast, began with DC, Baltimore, and soon Philadelphia.)

“We don’t need to do Los Angeles and New York City,” explains Free. “We are a local organization with a very local presence.”

So daily deal sites can compete on their demographics, branding, and locations. Sharing Spree may not be the next Groupon, but it’s not trying to be. Yet with developments like personalized deals from American Express on Facebook constantly springing up, the future of the whole industry is far from a done deal.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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