GroopBuy says it has a better way to bargain

New coupon site aims to empower Anglo consumers with major discounts, starting in Jerusalem.

By STEPHANIE HODES
December 28, 2010 02:55
3 minute read.
GroopBuy coupon recent deals

GroopBuy coupons 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

When new immigrants come to Israel, they arrive with the knowledge that adjusting to the Middle East will entail a considerable change of lifestyle, and inevitably one of the biggest adaptations will be learning to bargain – a skill that requires patience, perseverance and compromise.

For David Shadpour, founder of GroopBuy.co.il, compromising on good customer service was out of the question. Shadpour, 27, moved to Israel from the US two-and-a-half years ago and became increasingly frustrated with the bargaining culture here, where the lack of fixed prices means virtually everything is negotiable. As someone who considers himself “the kind of guy who always gets a good deal,” Shadpour quickly grew fed up with opportunistic shop owners immediately raising prices upon hearing his American accent.

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Realizing he was not the only one being exploited in this manner, Shadpour applied his sharp business mind to helping other Anglos bargain more effectively, with the hope of changing Israel for the better. Recognizing the value of collective buying power, he deduced that what Israel needed was a discount website.

The idea, although new to Israel, is somewhat based on the successful American Groupon concept. The goal is clear: for vendors, it helps introduce people to their businesses; for customers, it means better prices on a range of services, in the form of coupons.

Each coupon on the site requires a predetermined minimum number of people to sign up to activate the deal. If enough people don’t sign up for the deal to take effect, no one gets the deal that day; however, the prices are often hard to resist, and customers usually manage to bring a flood of new patrons to local businesses.

With each deal available for only one day, users have a sense of urgency to make sure the minimum is reached. How can they achieve this? By telling their friends. As such, the site often relies on social networking media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in place of traditional advertising.

GroopBuy.co.il launched on November 1 of this year and promised Israeli-Anglo consumers outrageous daily deals on activities, products, restaurants and services in the Jerusalem area.

This promise was certainly delivered, and since its launch, the site has offered a variety of items with discounts of up to 80 percent. Such deals include NIS 180 for a one-month gym membership to Akasha in the Mamilla Hotel, valued at NIS 650; NIS 70 for a NIS 180 meal at El Gaucho restaurant; and the best-selling deal to date, a manicure and pedicure valued at NIS 170 for only NIS 34.

The site is gaining momentum, with hundreds of coupons being sold weekly, and regular “groopies” coming back for more.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Shadpour said he was selective about which vendors he used.

“Certain places have a lower standard than what I expect,” he explained. “We have created a way to sort between them and only pick the best. That way, our patrons can expect the highest level of customer service.”

Shadpour hopes the concept will help promote and increase professionalism within Israeli businesses. With aspirations to expand eventually to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ra’anana, Modi’in and Beersheba, Shadpour is confident that GroopBuy can secure the best deals across the country.

“To the customer, it is just a discount site, but to me it is a significant step towards consumer empowerment,” he said.


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