Daily Deals Are Dead

Rebel or Roll Over

Forward, sons of the Greeks, liberate the fatherland, liberate your children, your women, the temples of your ancestral gods, the graves of your forebears: This is the battle for everything.”
Aeschylus ‘The Persians’ on the Battle of Salamis

Change never warns you when it plans on dropping by. It arrives uninvited, usually when you’re looking in the opposite direction, staring at the wall with your mouth hanging open. Blink and you might miss it.

Companies are swept away by change every day. They get too comfortable with their established customer base and what seems like a time-trusted business model. They underestimate their own potential for growth.

The waters are rising.

Over the last few years, the daily deal industry has been denounced and subsequently defended time and time again, by business leaders and news sources like Forbes and CNN.

When DailySteals.com was founded in 2008, daily deal websites were still considered pioneers in the e-commerce business. They were exciting and innovative. Then the industry became over-saturated, brimming with mediocre deals.

We all know the story.

What was once a thriving industry became a sinking ship overnight.

Surprise has turned to apathy.

The excitement that surrounded daily deal websites a few years ago has faded. The few that remain have managed to do so by finding creative ways to stand apart from the pack. Adweek has described the situation of daily deal sites as one of adapt or die.

When I think of the daily deal industry, I can’t help but be reminded of the Battle of Salamis. During the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece, the Greek Allies were heavily outnumbered and had suffered severe losses. The ingenuity of the Ancient Greeks helped them win what seemed like an impossible battle and change the tides in the war. The Greeks went from a defensive position to an offensive one. That same opportunity exists in the daily deal sector today.

There’s always a new trend in the tech world.

If there’s one thing we've learned in the daily deal industry, it’s that businesses need to constantly be taking a step back to examine the lifetime value of their particular business. Chasing trends is a surefire way to create a weak and disorganized business strategy. Instead of trying to copy an alternative e-commerce model, our business is forging our own path. Like the ancient Greeks, our only asset is a creative strategy.

Today, it’s a typical Wednesday in Brooklyn, and at the Daily Steals office it seems much like business as usual. But under the surface, something is brewing. The office is buzzing with a nervous excitement that first began when we decided to overhaul our website. Previously, Daily Steals committed to the traditional daily deal formula, with highlighted deals sorted by time limit and category. Our newest design reflects a shift in our thinking. We decided to allow greater user autonomy with the ability to browse all of our products on one continuous page.

It’s not all about looks.

When we made the decision to simplify our layout and rethink our formula, we knew we might encounter some backlash. This is always the hardest part of adaptation, because our customers who remain loyal are the most important part of our success. As we continue to grow, we want to continue doing what we do best: bringing excitement to the online shopping experience.

The only way to fight change is to lead the pack.

E-commerce is still in its infancy. If we look at this industry as a growing, temperamental entity, right now it’s still a screaming infant. How can we continue to remain relevant in this period of change and growth?

Life is about risk. We have made the decision to test our own capacity for change in the hopes that others might follow our lead. We hope that other e-commerce sites will join us in attempting to reinvent our industry.

It is our goal to bring back the thrill of online shopping.

We are beginning our search with a series of e-commerce “experiments”. When we attended TechCrunch Disrupt to test this concept, we were able to gauge a certain degree of interest in our plan. Although our Experiment 8 could have been stronger, it was the first step on this risky, but fascinating, path that we've chosen to take.

Our goal in these experiments is to learn about our customers and to create excitement. We want to bring back the joy that finding daily deals once inspired, but we want to make sure that the feeling is sustainable.

The problem with daily deal sites is a problem that must be solved by those within the industry. Our upcoming experiments will certainly be risky. Some of them might crash and burn. But if nothing else, we know they will be exciting. We know we will continue learning more about change. Because like it or not, change is always lingering nearby, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

So don’t blink. You might miss it.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Daily Steals’s story.