This week I got wind of a new group buying website called Hyperli. The email said: “From the team that brought you Groupon South Africa comes Hyperli. The next generation deal site that allows you to search and discover a diverse range of local experiences, products, and getaways at unbeatable prices.”
Tip: Always ensure that you don't spend more than you have.
It’s a strange name to launch with, but no stranger than the word ‘Google’ (which has now become a common verb), ‘Facebook’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Grinder’ and ‘Pinterest’. If you’re thinking that the name ‘Hyperli’ is derived from the word ‘Hypermarket’ – you’d be right.
“It is primarily hyperlocal, we focus on offering the best food, beauty and activity deals in your immediate area. Hyperli is secondly a hypermarket where we focus on offering a wide selection of goods at largely discounted prices,” confirmed the company, when asked of the origin of its name.
Groupon has pulled out of the South African market and while there is a void to fill, I surmised that competitors such as Wikideals, Daddy’s Deals, BulaDeals, etc., would strike while the iron is hot. Instead, it looks like a number of ex GrouponSA employees have snapped up the opportunity to fill the space before competitors woke up, and moved in.
Hyperli launched in November 2016 and employs 10 former Groupon SA staff members. With such expertise it is bound to be a thorn in the side of former Groupon SA’s competitors.
But is this the right time to enter the market?
Why start a group buying website at a time when e-commerce experts are touting their demise. Twangoo, which morphed into Groupon was a fad and people were excited to land a deal. But commentators believe this is starting to wear off. It appears that Groupon concurred and pulled out of markets that it was not doing so well in.
For businesses, the model was also becoming less appealing. Initially, Groupon was fine if you wanted to get your company known. But in most instances paying Groupon’s fee and offering a discount on the platform was not a profitable way to do business. With the number of partners in the market willing to do this type of deal dwindling, the business model was starting to unravel.
Consumers started to see the same old deals with restaurants, beauty salons offering fish pedicures and online courses, over and over again.
Looking at Hyperli’s current deals I can’t help but wonder how much different they are compared to the former Groupon SA. There’s the usual deals, including: movie tickets, TEFL courses, surfing lessons, cryolipolysis (fat freeze) sessions and photoshoots to name but a few - I even recognise the images.
But Conor Copas, marketing manager of Hyperli who was also a former Groupon staffer, assures me that the new business will differentiate from the former Groupon SA.
“Hyperli customers can expect an increased product offering from what they were used to at Groupon. We aim to become a daily habit within the local commerce space. In today’s fast paced world, savings can be in more ways than just monetary, for example savings in time of discovery and frictionless purchasing can add huge value to our customer base,” he says.
“Future iterations to the product will be focused around the wants and needs of our local customers. We have implemented EFT payments, as we know many South Africans don’t have access to a credit card. We have partnered with Parcel Ninja as our fulfillment provider and linked directly with their API to offer our customers transparent and fair delivery quotes,” adds Copas.
As for attracting new business, Copas believes that Hyperli will do things differently here too.
“We will be forming new partnerships with merchants that speak to our audience group. We aim to have more flexible commercial success fees and feature terms that will attract merchants that Groupon historically couldn’t," he says.
When asked why Hyperli would succeed where Groupon SA failed, Copas argues that Groupon SA was, in fact, doing well.
“Contrary to public assumption, Groupon SA was a profitable organisation and Groupon Internationals decision to exit the market was a strategic one to focus on their core markets in the US and Europe. There was uproar on social media following Groupon’s departure and we have no doubt that there is a healthy market to occupy,” hes says
Perhaps Copas will prove the sceptics (including me) wrong. After all, when word of Hyperli’s entrance into the market got around its site crashed from the interest and the company was forced to apologise for not being able to cope with it.
“Yes, we were overwhelmed [by the] the response of our early customers. We have since increased our server capacity to accommodate higher traffic on our site. I think this stands testament to the fact that South Africans love a great deal and being able to offer our customers that is what makes this industry so rewarding,” explains Copas.
I guess only time will tell if Hyperli makes a success of it.
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