e-commerce

kgbdeals: The ‘Special Agents’ of Daily Deals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 19, 2011 01:00 PM

In the video above, special agents codenamed k, g, and b, search for products and services with ‘deal appeal’ in a campaign for kgbdeals, an offshoot of New York-headquartered kgb, which has successfully worked its way to #3 in the UK's daily deals space.

In the past three months, Google searches for Groupon have increased by 78% compared to the first quarter of the year, according to Sky News, and 112% growth in the same period for Living Social.

But the largest increase came from kgbdeals, which reportedly saw a 443% rise in traffic to them via search engine marketing.

Founded 20 years ago as a provider of directory assistance and enhanced information services, kgb has built several global brands in telecommunications, customer care and data services including kgb's European brands such as The Number 118 118 in the UK, and 118 218 Le Numero in France.

In 2009, kgb launched its text answer service, 542542 (which spells out "kgbkgb"), a mobile “Ask Anything” 2-way text service for movie listings, train schedules, price comparisons - and now, daily deals. Leveraging its database of hyper-local directory assistance information to launch kgbdeals.com, the company offers deals in more than 100 cities world-wide.

To get more insights into the daily deals space, brandchannel spoke with kgbdeals CEO Patrick Albus:

What makes kgbdeals different from other daily deal companies?

kgb deals works with its merchant partners to craft deals that meet their needs instead of imposing “cookie cutter terms” that may not be favorable.  We also offer some of the fastest payment terms in the industry for merchants – after a deal has closed, we pay 50% of the merchant’s proceeds from the deal within the first 10 business days and 100% within 30 business days, which merchants tell us is crucial. In addition, we pay merchants for 100% of vouchers sold, not just the ones that are redeemed. 

On the customer side, we are known for our “no quibble customer service” – if a user isn’t satisfied, we’ll promptly make it right. Our customers also receive their vouchers immediately – so they can book or share deals with friends to make plans as soon as they get them. Customers won’t run into merchants who are overbooked because we only sell as many vouchers as merchants can handle. We also run our deals for multiple days so users don’t miss a thing. 

What it will take to survive as the space consolidates?

There is really only room for a few main players in the space – and kgbdeals, thanks in large part to our parent company and differentiators that have made us so successful in just one year’s time, is well-positioned to be one of the last few standing.

How has social media effected branding in the daily deals vertical?

Social media is an essential factor when it comes to the daily deals space. Many of kgbdeals’ offerings are inherently social: from a balloon ride in San Diego with friends to a dinner at a high end restaurant, most involve bringing together a group of friends or family. So many of our customers are sharing deals they find on social media and as a deals provider, it’s up to us to leverage that factor and bring the social world to deals.” 

* * *

kgb also launched kgbpeople.com, in the U.S. and Europe last year, a people search engine where consumers can monitor their online profile, set alerts, and manage their digital reputation. Last year kgb served more than a hundred million consumers worldwide. 

But with the explosive growth of the daily deals market, created by Groupon, LivingSocial and kgbdeals, there are shortfalls, as seen in a Sky News video, where Donna Garnham put the offer of a cut and colour on Groupon, and the 500 deals were snapped up in a flash. Donna will only receive half of the £25.50 which clients pay.

Caveat emptor in the daily deals world is to check that a seemingly unbeatable offer delivers the goods equal to the thrill of the buy.

 “Our parent company, kgb, has been connecting businesses to new customers for 20 years, giving us the knowledge needed to scale a business where customer service is a key aspect,” added Albus.

Below, part of kgb's 2010 campaign for the launch of kgbdeals in the US, UK and France:

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