Wrote an article for my friend’s startup on e27:
Founded by Chan YiSeng and his two co-founders, Deals89 is a new deals site which aims to do something different from all the deals aggregators and deals site out there. The platform focuses on providing local and oversea experiences by leveraging on social network and the power of crowd sourcing to determine the most popular and most demanded deals.
Why Deals89 you ask? Simple – all the deals are uniquely priced with an ending notation of ’89′ cents.
So what differentiates Deals89 from the rest? The site focuses on helping people discover unique local and oversea experiences. Although Singapore is a small county with a little more than a five million population, Singaporeans like travelling and trying out new things. Put it simply, Deals89 focuses on travel and entertainment related deals. With that in mind, Deals89 not only allow customers to request for deals they desire, the site also took a step further by providing additional service which allows customers to customize their own travel journey. Currently the travel deals that are offered on the site are from seven different countries in Asia and also Australia. According to the founders, there are more exciting deals from different countries coming up. Unlike other deals site, the minimum number of customers needed for the travel deals on Deals89 to be “on” is actually very low (minimum two to go).
I like how the site adopts the element of social engagement by allowing users to click “I want this” for the deals that they are interested. Not only does this increases the interactivity of the site, it could also create a real Win-Win situation between merchants and customers, where the number of “wants” on each deals reflects the demands from customers. To increase the social engagement, the site also shows the list of customers who “wants” a particular deal and they can connect with each other on Facebook. This allows users to enjoy the deals together and potentially going on a group trip together.
“As we work closely with our partners, the quality of deals and services are guaranteed.” – Chan
However, I’m still quite skeptical about whether Deals89 can survive in the Red Ocean of Deals site out there. While the site indeed offers a new concept by empowering customers to demand for the deals that they want, most of the time they don’t know what they want until you show it to them, as Steve Jobs puts it: “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. Although Deals89 does suggest some possible deals for me to “want” it, I would expect Deals89 to have at least secured the minimum discount and deals for me, as opposed to me clicking “I want this” and wait Deals89 to secure the deal. I might actually want to enjoy the deal right now.
On the note of competition, there are really a lot of well established deals site and deals aggregator out there, as well as those that tried to be different but we have never since hear about them after a while. Does the element of interactivity and their focus on the niche market (traveling industry) entices you? Do you think Deals89 has what it takes to become the big thing? Do let us know what your take is.
Disclaimer: I personally know the founders of Deals89.