BuyWithMe.com is (was) a group buying website, not too dissimilar to Groupon, launched in Boston, BuyWithMe grew to over 20 cities in the 2 or 3 years it was alive as a company. In November, they eventually sold to guilt city.
That notwithstanding, I had a keen interest in BuyWithMe from the start. Several of my good friends (and colleagues) held major jobs at the firm, which was funded by an alumni of the camp we all worked at. The company wasn’t as successful away from Boston, but in their hometown they were both successful and popular. Each day, the costumer would receive an E-mail with the deal of the day, which would last for about 3-7 days on average. In this E-mail, there was a link to all other active deals they were running, along with the ability to purchase a smaller sub-deal from time to time.
The deals themselves were tremendous, offering 35-60 percent off from a variety of hot spots around the city. To name a few, there was a “golden pass” for about 8 rounds at some of the more popular golf courses around the area for 200 bucks, normally about 350. There were 50 dollar gift cards selling for 25 dollars to a famous restaurant called G’vanni’s in the North End, and even a 20 dollar gift certificate selling for 9 dollars for an ice cream shop with several locations across the suburb. The catch was that for each deal to be valid and activated, a certain number of people needed to sign up. This was never a problem (especially in Boston) as the floor was nearly always reached and the deal ran. If you purchased the deal, they would follow up by e-mailing you a voucher or sending a gift card, but it would generally be via E-mail.
The target for BuyWithMe are people with relatively high amounts of disposable income around the Boston area. They were traditionally more focused on women than men as their target audience, mostly because they launched by running a slew if salon, restaurant and deals that were more tailored to women. As the company matured, they began to appeal more to men as well offering more concert ticket deals and athletic events. The deals were generally suited for those in the middle to upper class, as the deals were for things that were more discretionary then necessary to get by.
The strategy they employed was relatively successfully in the Boston area as well as Washington DC, but the company tried to expand too quickly and over extended themselves. Some things that worked well in their successful markets was that the E-mail was personalized- it was only sent to those who signed up for the daily e-mail. Additionally, it was interactive and offered BuyWithMe clear measureable results, as they had the exact statistics for who bought the deal and what previous deals these costumers had purchased. They can use that information as they were working on future deals and trying to identify the wants and needs of their target market. Another advantage is secure payment system. Your account has your card saved on it and all payments seem to have been trustworthy, relying heavily on PayPal. One major drawback was the number of E-mails that were sent. For me, being out of Boston, it was inconvenient to get the deal of the day each and every morning for things that I was a 6 hour drive away from. Eventually, it made sense to remove myself from the list and just check the website when I was interested in purchasing a deal. Another thing that could present issues for them could be spam and e-mail filters. If their daily E-mails were getting filtered out of peoples inbox’s, their main method for interacting with costumers would not be effective at all.
Ultimately, their strategy was not too effective on the whole as they had to sell the company and move on. However, they were in an industry with rapidly growing competitors (living social, Groupon to name a few) and simply were not able to keep up with them in the long run.