Strength in numbers is the theory behind a new website, Group- ola.com. It says it harnesses the power of collective buying to give its users the best possible deal on a range of leisure treats.
The idea is a simple one: bring a minimum number of consumers together to commit to buying a particular deal at a heavy discount, which is labelled the "tipping point". If enough people commit to the purchase, everyone wins – the consumer bags a discounted deal and the retailer has a guaranteed number of sales. At Groupola, if you come across a deal you like, you can commit to buy it and register your payment details. Once the tipping point is reached, your card is charged and you are sent an instant email, complete with redemption instructions. If the tipping point is not met, the discounted deal is withdrawn, but there is no financial obligation to go through with the purchase. Groupola claims to save users between 50 and 90 per cent.
"These sites are part of a useful consumer trend where people are discovering the power of mass buying," says Jasmine Birtles, founder of financial website moneymagpie.com. "It's how the supermarkets operate, so why shouldn't we?"
Groupola.com is by no means alone. Discounted day trips, hotel stays and restaurant meals are on wowcher.co.uk. Wahanda.com features what it calls "MobDeals" which work in the same way, but are specifically for spa and beauty-related offers in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Other contenders include Vouchtogether .co.uk and the soon to be launched Likebees.com, which both feature London-based deals.
One feature that does separate Groupola from other sites is that it will be promoting daily deals in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol. It may face some stiffer competition from Mycitydeal.co.uk, but its founder, Mark Pearson, who is also the brains behind thriving discount website MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, has ambitious plans about the future of Groupola.
"We want to gain a big following in lots of cities. We're only a week old but we are going to aim to roll it out in a new city every week," he says.
The success of Groupola and similar sites will depend on the volume of visitors; the deals will dry up if Groupola isn't able to entice consumers into taking up the offers. "We've had an awful lot of traffic but the immediate challenge is to get people to understand the concept and give them the confidence to go for it," says Mr Pearson.