Social commerce proliferates across niche group buying systems

Social commerce won’t be just the playground of Internet giants Groupon, Google and Facebook. White label social commerce platform providers will allow any publishing entrepreneur to easily build social buying applications.

In my previous post, I discussed how the success of social commerce hinges on media distribution – how to get social deals noticed by consumers. For startups, it’s now challenging to build a vanilla Groupon clone in cities where Groupon and other competitors have market share simply because the markets are already mature. Nevertheless, this is not the social buying end game; social commerce is a blue ocean that will spawn opportunities. I’ll be delineating these opportunities on Daily Deal Media.

The next stage of social buying will be the development of niche categories. For example, golf is a perfect “Groupon-able” item:

  • Tee times are perishable, ideally every hour should be booked.
  • Golf courses in the Sun Belt need customers all year round. In colder climes, courses need customers in early spring and late fall. Golfers will purchase a deep discount greens fee coupon that expires on May 31 on the off chance the weekend weather is nice (San Francisco has been warmer this January week than it usually is in July)
  • Golfers are enthusiastic about their hobby. Hook them on discount greens fees, and get local sporting goods stores to offer discount equipment and balls.

Finally, niche group buying can be localized. I expect a number of regional / state / local golf social buying systems to launch across America because there are low barriers to entry. A deal syndication marketplace will evolve to expose an inventory of golf deals that can be shared across these systems. Organizations like the PGA could become involved in branding.

Here’s a list of niche social buying opportunities with examples:

Thematic and cultural

Product

Expect brand retailers like BevMo or Pottery Barn to develop social buying systems.

Sports

  • Golf / mini-golf (GroupGolfer, Golfon)
  • Winter sports, ski resorts
  • Sailing and water sports
  • Sports and health clubs
  • Fishing
  • Bowling
  • Billiards
  • NASCAR and racing
  • Go carts
  • Sporting goods

Travel & Tourism

Hobbies

  • Classic hobbies – coin and stamp collecting, comics, trading cards
  • Restaurants and foodie (Restaurant.com)
  • Beer & wine (Daily Wine Deals)
  • Home and garden
  • Music
  • Musical instruments
  • Karaoke
  • Gaming and social gaming

Resources: Yipit deals directory, Daily Deal Media deals directory

This article was originally publishes on Daily Deal Media January 28, 2011.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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