TimesLimited is No Groupon

Discussion
May 06, 2011
George Anderson

The New York Times wants in on the daily deal business,
but in its own way.

TimesLimited, launched by the paper in late March, "is
dedicated to bringing its subscribers access to unique products and experiences." Nowhere
is there a mention of the deals typically played up by Groupon, LivingSocial
and others. While offers are for a limited time and involve limited quantities,
there are no numbers used to tell consumers how much they are saving.

Offers
on the site yesterday included a caviar party for four from Paramount Caviar
at a price of $460. The deal did not play up savings. In fact, there was no
mention on the page as to how much consumers would save by taking advantage
of the deal. Paramount Caviar, according to its website, is "a major
distributor of caviar" in the U.S. and has been awarded "two Gold
Medals for product consistency and quality" by Chefs in America.

According
to a report on the Advertising Age website, only one of the deals offered on
TimesLimited have sold out so far.

A spokesperson for the Times, told Ad Age, "I
can tell you that we are pleased with the performance of our initial offers
and the growing interest shown by advertisers."

Discussion Questions: Is there a market for daily deal sites that are focused more on the unique nature of the offers than the amount of savings involved? Will this approach ultimately do more to help retailers than those focused on discounts?

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8 Comments on "TimesLimited is No Groupon"


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Joan Treistman
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

The NYTimes is using its brand equity (elitist?) to differentiate its offering from others such as Groupon. Therefore the consumer can expect to see something that is unique. The positioning for TimesLimited offers consideration to goods and services that can benefit from the “special” aura.

I believe that this approach delivers positive brand imagery to the services presented and engages NYTimes subscribers because of their quest for what is interesting, desirable and news worthy. Groupon and LivingSocial are more likely to have to battle it out while the NYTimes/TimesLimited has separated itself from the fray.

George Anderson
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

Of course, an email today shows us that deals do have a place in the TimesLimited approach. RentTheRunway is offering a $350 credit to rent designer dresses and accessories for $175.

Dan Frechtling
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

Just because the daily offers market started by selling Holiday Inns doesn’t mean there’s no room for Ritz’s.

Groupon’s model is low unit price X high velocity X high revenue share. TimesLimited may take high unit price X low velocity X high rev share.

LivingSocial takes margin on every transaction like a ticket seller. TimesLimited may charge by CPM, leads generated or other outcomes like media.

Groupon is every market. TimesLimited may be the first choice of Manhattan or the Tri-State area.

Like any service, especially curation, one stands out at the low or high end but not the middle. Gilt City is Ritz-ing with a $30K Mario Batali wedding that sold out with 75 waitlisted (Ad Age). TimesLimited is not regularly selling out.

Now is the time to experiment with different genres and discounts. TimesLimited appears to be doing that — witness today’s 50% off rent and return designer clothing.

Dan Frechtling
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

Just because the daily offers market started by selling Holiday Inns doesn’t mean there’s no room for Ritzs.

Groupon’s model is low unit price X high velocity X high revenue share. TimesLimited may take high unit price X low velocity X high rev share.

Living social takes margin on every transaction like a ticket seller. TimesLimited may charge by CPM, leads generated or other outcomes like media.

Groupon is every market. TimesLimited may be the first choice of Manhattan or the Tri-State area.

Like any service, especially curation, one stands out at the low or high end but not the middle. Gilt City is Ritz-ing with a $30K Mario Batali wedding that sold out with 75 waitlisted (Ad Age). TimesLimited is not regularly selling out.

Now is the time to experiment with different genres and discounts. TimesLimited appears to be doing that, as George notes in his comment.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 10 days ago

Absolutely, there are definite opportunities in this arena. For instance, Mother’s Day…a package that would give ideas and creative gifts for the Mom who has everything. It’s all about execution.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

When the premium brands jump into the discount waters, they don’t heed the risks. I discuss this in my new book, Groupon: Why Deep Discounts are Bad for Business. The more CMO’s discard the carefully managed brands others before them created, the more short-term gain at the brands’ own peril, whoever they decide to offer it through.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

Price is the antithesis of brand building. Groupon and their brethren are built on generating incremental business for their clients. They are teaching the users to look for price alternatives to things they would normally react to. Would I ever want to pay full price for a facial at Bliss again?

The TimesLimited site is simply an introduction to cool stuff. It has a “wow!” factor that sends a message for the advertiser even if the viewer doesn’t react. Something to remember. Something to wish for. There is no downside for the advertiser.

Bill Hanifin
Guest
10 years 10 days ago

The NYT is heading down a path highly compatible with its brand, creating packaged offers that deliver experiences as well as goodies to readers.

There does need to be some context communicated to readers in order that the value is well understood, as I don’t believe anyone will “overpay” for offers made, even if in sync with their brand.

The WSJ has done a similar and commendable job with its wine offers. Those demonstrate quality and are compatible with its audience. There is also a clear message of value, something that NYT will have to keep on its test grid as it moves forward.

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