In addition to the private shopping club model, another alternative way of selling on the Web is the one deal at a time business model.
One deal at a time sites offer only one product for sale at a time. The products are heavily discounted ranging from 40 to 80 percent off retail price. They are offered for sale for a predetermined length time or until the inventory runs out, or whichever comes first. Variations of this business model include:
- New deals daily
- New deals on a weekly basis.
- One deal at a time, though several deals are offered within 24 hours. Once the item runs out, a new deal is offered.
- Progressive lowering of prices
Shopping in one deal at a time sites is designed to be a fun and interactive experience. The sense of excitement heightens as good deals are snapped quickly so you need to make the decision to buy fast. One deal a day sites play up the feeling of fun and excitement by including clocks indicating the length of time the deal remains open, and the number of products still available. There is a limit in the number of items a customer can buy (often 3), mostly to prevent reselling.
For the most active sites, the experience feels like a race to get the deal, as some items may sell out just minutes after the deal opens. Once sold out, these sites do not give any guarantee that the item and the same deal will be offered anytime soon. In Woot.com, the biggest one deal at a time, the “I Want One” button starts jumping around when the item is about to run out.
These sites attract bargain hunters looking for the best deals. One deal a day sites can be addicting, with customers enticed to return to the site when new products are put up to see if they can get other great deals. Emails and RSS feeds are the most common tools to alert their subscriber base of the availability of new deals.
One deal at a time sites offer customers simplicity of choice. Customers need not be overwhelmed by too much information and product choices, as these sites have done the job for them of finding the best products at bargain basement prices. As Chanell Scott of the Eco-focused Guffly.com says:
“The one-product per day model made sense for us because we wanted to make the necessary information on the eco-friendly or fair trade attributes of the products simple to digest for the consumer. One product per day prevents information overload and is a fun way to shop.”
The key to the success of a one deal at a time site is product selection. The product should be very appealing to the site’s target market, and the audience must realize they will be getting a great deal from the site compared to retail or other online stores. The downside, of course, is that the products offered may not appeal to buyers. To minimize this risk, many of the one deal at a time sites actively solicit customer feedback as to products that they want to be featured on the site.
So where are the best places to get the merchandise to sell? In my previous interview with the one deal at a time site MamaBargains.com, founder Jessica Singer explained:
“The concept behind the site is really just simplicity … one product at a time, and at a deal that’s hard to pass up, and something that can be fun and interactive as well as a great avenue for our vendors to clear out their overstock, discontinued designs or out of season items easily. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, the customer, the vendor, and us. It’s fantastic to read all the emails from moms who tell us that they are addicted.”
Here is a list of some one deal at a time sites:
- Today’s DOD http://www.todaysdod.com = tracks the deals the various one deal a day site offers
- Woot.com http://www.woot.com = the granddaddy of one deal at a time sites, offering mostly computers and peripherals and electronic items, though cookware and exercise equipment are also sold on the site.
- Mamabargains.com http://www.mamabargains.com = catering to busy moms and parents, offering mostly baby related items
- Yugster http://www.yugster.com = mostly electronic items, including watches
- SteepandCheap.com http://www.steepandcheap.com = offers gears including sports and active lifestyle gears