After disrupting -- or at least discomfiting -- the traditional retail industry,the burgeoning online group commerce industry is itself ready for some disruption.
At least reports of stagnant revenues and tepid usage trends would seem to suggest that. Industry pioneer Groupon reported its active customer base in North America increased modestly from 20.8 million at the end of 2013 to 24.1 million, while Living Social saw total revenues slip from $302 million in 2013 to $231 million in 2014.
Newcomer Joinem, which just raised $5 million in a new round of funding, is looking to reinvent the group commerce industry with a new model combining mobile, the sharing economy and e-commerce.
Essentially, Joinem’s central WePower service scans the prices for products offered by big online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, then promises to deliver a discount of up to 25% below the lowest price on offer. Provided, that is, that a certain number of people agree to participate in a group purchase (at a price pre-approved by the retailer).
Users can recruit additional buyers by sharing deals via social media, and Joinem also employs proprietary technology to identify like-minded shoppers for group buys. Finally, consumers can fill out a personal social profile to get enhanced product discovery, with a personalized referral URL they can share socially.
According to a Harris Poll survey cited by eMarketer, 59% of respondents said price point would be their major consideration when deciding whether to buy something on a social-media site.
Following a beta test in November of last year, Joinem surveyed participants and found 78% said they would definitely or probably participate in a group buy, while 68% said they would invite their friends to join via posts on social media.Joinem’s executive chairman is Rick Braddock, who formerly served as chairman and CEO of Priceline.com; global president of Citicorp; and CEO and chairman of FreshDirect.