Daily deals weren’t much of a category two years ago and the oversaturation of the market today threatens to push it back into obscurity once more. One of the reasons why many vendors are tired of Groupon, LivingSocial and similar programs is that they don’t actually generate a lot of repeat business. Consumers just move on to the next deal instead. Microsoft wants to change this. As part of the full launch of its Bing Deals daily deals aggregation service today, the company is also rolling out a loyalty program called the Microsoft Punchard Program. The new Bing Deals will also allow merchants to offer their own deals directly through Bing.
Turning Deal Hunters into Loyal Customers
According to Microsoft’s director for its Microsoft Advertising division, “deals will no longer be a one-time engagement, but rather, the Microsoft Punchcard Program will integrate a loyalty program tied to the deal that gets better with more engagement.” The idea here is that the deal – if managed through Bing’s Business Portal – will actually get better as you go back to the merchant. I’ve asked Microsoft for some clarification on how this program will work from a customer’s perspective and will update this post once I hear more.
Bing is also giving merchants the ability to bring some of the original “group buying” spirit of the daily deals business. With its new “accelerated deals,” local stores can set up deals that become more valuable once a certain threshold of customers has bought a coupon.
In addition to all of this, Bing is also introducing the ability for local merchants to offer deals “in partnership with local schools with a percentage of the proceeds going towards schools’ fund-raising efforts.”
This new program is scheduled to roll out in 12 cities across the U.S. in the near future. Those cities and regions are: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Southern Oregon (Southern Oregon being the odd one out here, given that’s it’s not exactly a metropolitan area, but Microsoft plans to test the fund-raising aspect of this new program there).
Internet users will be able to find these deals when they search or look for deals on Bing.