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Group buying, reinvented

For director of uEatiPay Ryan Fung, the concept of Groupon, SodaCard and BeeCrazy works, just not in the realm of food and beverage.

Similar to his competitors, the site and mobile app offers discounts at restaurants, but instead of buying it beforehand and showing up with a QR code or a printed coupon, customers can eat at the venue, scan the receipt back to uEatiPay, which then rebates the money within five to seven working days.

The concept, explained Fung, is to take the load off restaurants front-line workers and save customers face.

“Though frugality is a virtue, it’s weird for customers to give a discount coupon to the restaurant in situations like going out on a date or during a business lunch”, he said.

“And what we’ve found that is a lot of the restaurants will put customers in a corner, or offer less food or worse service after they found out that they are group-buying customers.”

Founded last summer, the company takes commissions from customers’ spent amount in the receipts. The app currently doesn’t contain any ad space.

On the offers, the restaurants can zero down on the specific menu, dates and time slots where customers can come. This way, Fung says, his clients can maximise their venue at all times rather than increase workload during peak hours.

“The mentality of group-buying customers is usually to use it once they get the coupon or close to the time when it expires. This means that the restaurant is not benefitting in the time in between.”

Currently, uEatiPay’s website boasts deals with 23 restaurants; but their caliber has yet to compare with its competitors.

Though its relatively small roster can be attributed to it being a newcomer in the market, restaurants seem to be quite happy with the current system, seeing how fast companies like SodaCard, which has partnered up with more than 40 companies (of which 36 are F&B outlets), have grown since its debut in 2010.

Aside from iTunes and the Google Playstore, uEatiPay is marketed through Samsung’s marketplace; it also has a Facebook page, whereby it posts whimsical food tips such as “foods that make people fart”.

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