BAGGING A bargaiN..
New group buying website where people power drives prices down GROUP-BUYING websites are becoming big business - taking the online retail world by storm.
While Groupon is the best known, others like LivingSocial, KGB Deals and Wahanda are getting in on the act with discounts averaging 60% on a host of services and products.
There are great deals such as 70% off a weekend break in the country, 50% off theatre tickets and meal deals at a knockdown 30% of the asking price. You can even get 60% off Botox.
A new twist on download-and-go vouchers that have been a massive hit with consumers, the next generation of money saving schemes is used by one in three Brits.
cLaMBer Now there's a new kid on the block which promises to harness people power to bring prices down.
Launched today, BuyaPowa claims it is a unique way for you to snap-up big brands which become cheaper as more buyers clamber on board. "But Groupon this ain't," says founder Gideon Lask.
"Group buying sites are largely services at a static price and we are purely products with dynamic pricing," he added.
"We are bringing the idea of bulk buying directly from the supplier to online shopping. But what makes us different is that as more people join in, the less everyone pays."
The co-buying site plans to keep it simple - a maximum of 100 of any one product go on sale each day with prices dropping with every 20 new shoppers.
Its 24-hour deals promise to beat the recommended retail price, even if only one person wants in.
But the more bargain-hunters who come on board, the more the price comes down.
Other group-buying sites like KGB Deals and Wahanda don't offer the same sliding scale and, like Groupon, are mainly service led with deals from hotels, restaurants, spas and some fashion and accessories.
Mr Lask, 36, former managing director of hmv.com says: "I want co-buying to be the next big thing and empower consumers. "This gives ordinary people the power to deal directly with the brands and put money back in their pockets. For the first time they will be able to buy from the supplier and enjoy the same kind of benefits major stores have been tapping into for years."
It's taken him a year to get to today's launch, which begins with the Benefit Smokin' Eyes make-up kit which normally sells at pounds 28.50.
BuyaPowa's starting price is pounds 11 cheaper at pounds 17.50 but it's chart shows that if 100 people log on to buy within 24 hours, the price will reach pounds 13.
Also lined up is a pink cover for the Apple iPad 2 with an RRP of pounds 34.99, starting price of pounds 23.99 and final price of pounds 17.99, as well as toys, baby gear and soon to follow big ticket items like TVs.
The site - with a monkey "superhero" with the phrase "prices drop as people shop" - hopes to pull in punters with the lure of a free product for those who bring in the most people on any one item.
Mr Lask says: "The gaming element is more likely to appeal to men who we believe will be trying to win a product while women are more likely to share and tell their friends about it.
"At the moment we have more health and beauty items but we are looking to build up a relationship with other brands from sports to gadgets.
"We are the only site that is offering boxed, branded products which will either be shipped from the supplier or from our warehouse in Swindon.
"There's no catch - it's all about people power and you don't need a minimum number of people in the group for the deal to go live. You just click and buy."
Transparency, he says, is the key and as each buyer logs on, the online bar chart registers the customer in real time so there's no chance of items being sold at the more expensive rate. "The whole idea is to get the price right down to rock bottom and people will be able to see the buying activity in real time."
And under the EU's Distant Selling Directive, shoppers who have second thoughts can cancel the order within seven days or there's a 30 day cooling period after delivery.
While it's early days for BuyaPowa, established sites have recently taken a battering, with the Advertising Standards Authority upholding seven complaints against Groupon over pricing matters.
And Which? Money found availability with offers was also a problem as some deals failed to live up to the hype with long waits for bookings and discounts based on a maximum price rather than an actual price.
The watchdog said: "When we did our research, the group-buying sites did have the cheapest deals available, but sometimes the discounts seemed exaggerated."
where you caN click aNd save Site: Groupon.com How it works: Minimum number of people - agreed by Groupon - needed for the deal to be activated. If not enough people sign-up, the deal is off. Deals: From 50-90% off meals, days out, tickets and beauty treatments like Botox and dental work. Site: Crowdity.
com How it works: If enough people sign up to buy the deal that day everyone gets it.
If the numbers are short, the deal falls through. Deals: From 50-75% off on days out, meals, products like coffee and BBQs, beauty treatments and fitness gear. Site: KGBDeals.co.uk How it works: Sign up and buy. Deals: From 75-90% off fashion, cinema, events, restaurants, beauty treatments, holidays, homeware. Site: Wahanda.com How it works: Sign up and buy. Deals: 50-80% off beauty treatments and spa breaks. Site: Livingsocial.com How it works: Sign up and buy. Deals: 50-90% off days out, bars, spas, restaurants and theatres. Site: Kelkooselect.co.uk How it works: Sign up and buy. Deals: 50-87% off days out, fashion, beauty treatment, entertainment.
HOW IT WORKS
siMPLe stePs: Join BuyaPowa and check its website for offers that interest you (eg, a pink Apple iPad cover); watch prices fall as more people buy; make your purchase and your product is delivered to your door... SAVVY SAVERS nPlaying the numbers game drives prices down