NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- There are daily deal sites for everything from restaurants and hotels to comic books and marijuana, but until recently there were no Web sites specifically offering group buying discounts on what is arguably the most essential shopping trip for consumers: groceries.If you want to find deals on everyday products such as eggs, juice and cereal, there is certainly no shortage of coupon Web sites and newspaper circulars promoting dollar-off deals or buy-one-get-one-free offers, but shoppers would be hard pressed to find the kind of limited-time 50% to 90% off daily deals Web sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial have turned into the new normal.
|Every sector has joined the daily deals bandwagon except the one most famous for attracting the coupon elite -- grocery stores.|
Groceries differ from other consumer products in two potentially problematic ways: Each food product has many subtle variations and virtually all can expire. We might call this issue the "orange juice paradox": When a grocery store offers a deal on orange juice, it has to specify whether it's pulp, nonpulp, concentrate, whether it's a quart or a gallon and whether it's Tropicana, Dole or another brand. "There's such a huge number of products and choices available, the likelihood of getting a huge number of people interested in any particular option is lower," says Geoff Allen, the founder and CEO of Ziplist, an online service that launched this year and lets users upload grocery shopping lists and searches for related food deals. Once the grocery store figures out which kind(s) of orange juice to offer, Allen says the big challenge is figuring out how much each merchant needs to stock to make sure it can fill all the requests.