I saw this article a couple of weeks ago in Mashable (easily my favorite blog) and it details a very interesting trend called Group Buying. The idea itself is simple - customers band together, using already established platforms on small business' websites, to buy a product or service for a cheaper amount. It's a win win - businesses get more customers and more people using their services, while customers can get what they want for less money. It's also ingenious on many levels, but one in particular - it turns customers into sales agents. Instead of a customer just buying a product or recommending one out of the goodness of their hearts, a customer is converted into a sales agent who now wants others to buy your products to save themselves money.
A variety of websites dedicated towards this new trend have started to pop up, including GroupOn and LivingSocial. Right now, many of these services seem concentrated in major cities, many formerly small and now massive internet trends have started in isolated locations before spreading to the world at large (Facebook was originally available only to limited colleges and Foursquare was once only in major cities).
The thing that is most fascinating to me about this trend is that it seems to be very similar to much of what we do at The Chamber. We are all about using the power of our nearly 5,000 members to leverage additional savings for our members (see our Member Benefits for more information), and that seems to be what this trend is promulgating - using numbers to save you money.
I haven't seen any of this type of buying in the Lehigh Valley yet, but that doesn't mean anything - is anyone out there familiar with Group Buying in the Valley, or have any of you had any positive or negative experiences with it?