Deal A Day Websites – a disruptive business model?

I’ve been thinking a little about Deal A Day websites, like 1-day, firstin, and offtheback.

All these Deal A Day websites stemmed from the idea of the main Deal A Day website in America, woot.

What is a deal a day website? Where every day there is a new deeply-discounted product for sale, and previous products for sale are removed. This generates a significant amount of excitement and buzz about the website, and ensures that people return to see the new deal each day.

Of course, all these websites are variations of this idea. woot only has one product. 1-day is a twist of fate has three. firstin has five? offtheback has one.

Currently the market leader is 1-day. 1-day has a significant amount of regular visitors, and has won the war of critical mass I believe. Like Amazon, TradeMe, and e-Bay, once you have reached a critical mass of people, there is less incentive for people to visit other sites, and hence all those other sites never grow, and the critical mass site explodes with growth.

Until a disruptive model comes about.

So I set myself thinking about disruptive models to take the 1-day crown of Deal A Day websites in New Zealand. We need to examine why there is a lot of repeat traffic to the site – new products and exclusivity. Once a product has sold out, it is gone and the customer misses out. But instead of being disapointed in the retailer, they are excited to see a good deal, and look forward to tomorrow’s deal. Combined with an active community of users who comment on products and generate content, means that there is a significant attraction for users to return back to the site.

Once a product sells out, that is a lost opportunity for the retailer, as they have lost potential revenue. Is there a way to capitalise on this?

Well we could just constantly replace items on the site. Hence it’s not a deal a day website anymore, but a constant deal website. Obviously the excitement still needs to come from having products that people perceive as being bargins. Second hand products can fit this bill. Each product is unique, and once it’s gone it’s gone, but there is always another product. If we continue to extend this concept out – for second hand markets should we let the market decide the price?

This may be a new disruptive business model – an auction a day website. Since we still need to ensure an item is sold (and not have to wait for an auction to finish), we could implement a dutch auction method where:

  • Three items are listed for sale by auction, whether new or second hand.
  • A maximum price is set by the administrator.
  • Over a period of time set by the administrator, the price decreases by a set amount at set intervals, i.e. $1 a minute.
  • If someone wants to purchase the item, they must balance waiting for a lower price against someone purchasing the item before them.
  • As each product is rare, and unique, there is a high ‘buzz’ factor surrounding the auctions.

There you have it. A new disruptive business model for deal a day websites, called Auction A Day.

As I search for “auction a day” on Google, I see no results. Good luck!