We all love hot deals but sometimes it can be hard to get what we want at a discount price. Enter the world of group buying. It’s a way of getting a discount when a large number of people commit to the sale. Now there are loads of websites that organise these group discounts and send them straight to your inbox. All you have to do is decide on the deals you want. Here’s all you need to know about how bulk-buying deals work and how you can get some great deals for yourself.
- What are they?
- What deals can you get?
- Are they genuine?
- How do you use the sites?
- Which group buying sites should you join?
- Are they worth it?
Did you know about our fab article Luxury for less? It’s packed with links to sites where you can enjoy a decadent lifestyle on a budget! There’s everything from five-star holidays to gorgeous designer lingerie. It’s not to be missed, so check out Luxury for less now!
Group-buying sites are discount websites that you can sign up to to get deals on pretty much everything – from theatre shows, to meals out at swanky restaurants and even health spa breaks.
The way they work is that you sign up to get their emailed offers (sometimes they’re daily deals, sometimes just a couple of times a week, depending on the company) then if enough people sign up to the offer it will go ahead. If not, then the deal gets cancelled. So if there’s a deal you really want, it might help to invite some friends to make up the numbers.
These sites are able to offer discount deals by means of the power of group buying. In the same way that restaurants may provide a discount on a meal for a large party, certain companies will provide a discount on their services if the sites are able to get enough people signed up to the deal. As they are guaranteed the custom, companies are happy to offer a discount.
Currently the sites only really organise deals within large cities (London obviously, but some of them also do other cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh). They separate their deals by city so you can search for the ones nearest you. As there’s usually a new offer every day you’re likely find something you’re interested in at least once a month.
Many sites offer a ‘deal of the day’ along with longer-running offers. You’ll be surprised at the range of deals that these sites can offer. Pretty much anything and everything will feature at some time or another.
Theatre trips, restaurant meals, vouchers for concerts and discounted hair and beauty treatments are pretty common but you’ll also find things like hot air balloon trips, golf tutoring, dental treatments, photographic prints, paintball sessions, photoshoots, chocolate-making classes, car valets and dancing classes!
Yes. Certainly the ones we have included in this article are. The reason they’re able to offer such good deals is not just that they use the power of group buying (although that is the main one) it’s really because there are loads of restaurants, spas, beauticians and the like that really need the custom. The credit crunch has been (and continues to be) very tough on a lot of businesses and many are looking around for ways to get more ‘bums on seats’.
As you’re already aware, many restaurants, attractions and luxury businesses have been doing 2-for-1 offers, discount vouchers, money-off deals etc for a while to entice us through their doors. This is another way that they can guarantee themselves a load more customers. In many cases it’s worth their while offering deals where profit is minimal or even make a loss on the deal because once they get you in they’ll do their very best to cross sell to you (offer you other things that you’ll need to pay full price for) or upsell to you (try to get you to go for a more expensive deal instead).
Be aware that you might get this when you take up the deal. Try not to be sold to and you will save more money.
Every site runs in a similar way. To take advantage of the deals, first of all you have to become a member and sign up. It’s a free process and, so long as you don’t mind getting extra emails every day, it’s probably worth signing up for all of them as they all come up with different deals.
Most sites will let you view deals without signing up first so you get an idea of what they offer. Others like Keynoir – which specialises in health and beauty – require you to set up a membership first.
When the deals come into your inbox it’s simply a case of scanning them and deciding whether you’re interested or not. All deals have a time limit in which to buy them (usually that day), so you need to make sure you subscribe to the purchase before the time runs out.
Most sites will allow you to pay by credit or debit card or by PayPal and you’ll need to enter these details when you sign up, as payment is automatic once the number of buyers has been reached.
You’ll only be charged for the deal once it has met the required minimum number of sales – in other words, if enough people sign up to it then the deal will go through and you’ll be charged. You’ll find out (probably the next day) if that has happened. If the deal doesn’t reach this number then it will be cancelled and no payment will be made.
Once the deal closes, you’ll be sent a printable voucher for your offer via email which you can then redeem. Don’t forget that most offers have an expiry date and most require you to make a booking or reservation.
Group buying is becoming hugely popular and there are now loads of sites you can use. We’ve compiled some short reviews of some of the better-known websites to let you know their pros and cons and what they can offer.
Best for a super social life
- KGB Deals
KGB Deals have a wide range of offers but are especially strong on nights out – giving you the freedom to get out of the house and enjoy yourself without worrying about the cost. They’ve got loads of great deals to spice up your social life, from discounts on fine dining to rib-tickling comedy nights. One of the Moneymagpies recently snapped up six cocktails for just £10 at a snazzy London bar from KGB – they were worth £7.50 each so she had a great night out AND saved a whopping £35!
KGB are great if you’re stuck for ideas with a special event such as Mother’s Day approaching. You can give a loved one a really special treat without breaking the bank.
To get involved, all you need to do is register for KGB’s daily emails and you’re then free to start taking advantage of their offers. If you get your friends in on the act, KGB will reward you with loyalty points which can be put towards future deals. If you save up enough you could swipe an offer for free!
Moneymagpie rating: *****
Best for homeware
The Moneymagpie readers are really keen on Dealtastic. They mainly offer limited time-only deals so you’ve got to be quick but the rewards are amazing!
Dealtastic have some fab offers on lovely homeware items such as cool retro clocks for your kitchen and energy-saving products to dramatically reduce your electricity and water bills. In these hard times, we could all use a bit of help there!
In fact, they’re currently promoting a fantastic energy-saving light bulb that promises to slash up to 90% off your lighting bill!
If you narrowly miss out on a fab offer, don’t despair as Dealtastic have a new deal every single day!
Moneymagpie rating: ****
Best for luxury holidays
- Voyage Prive
Voyage Prive is a free members-only site offering hand-picked luxury holidays which are discounted by up to 70%. Holidays range from world-class spa breaks to all-inclusive exotic island retreats, with every holiday being 4* or 5* bliss and relaxation! Fresh deals are added on a weekly basis but be warned – they don’t stick around for long.
So sign up for free and join the 5 million people enjoying fabulous once-in-a-lifetime holidays with Voyage Prive.
Moneymagpie rating: ****
Best for theatre and cinema
Groupon is a firm Moneymagpie favourite and promotes the best deals from across the UK depending on the location you select. There’s also a national deal featured which you can snap up wherever you live. The site has great offers on things to see, do and eat as well as more unusual offers such as cosmetic surgery discounts!
Groupon focuses on one main offer but it’s always worth checking the ‘more deals’ section where you’ll find some real gems.
Once you’ve signed up to Groupon – for free – you can recommend as many friends as you like, and if any of them go on to sign up, you’ll get £6 for each one who does. The money will be credited to your account so you can use it towards your next purchase on the site.
Moneymagpie rating: ****
Best for health & beauty
Wahanda specialises in health and beauty deals. You’ll find such offers as facials, massage, manicures, spa breaks, haircuts and all sorts of weird and wonderful beauty treatments. The site promotes one deal a day but you can also search through other live deals to see what takes your fancy.
The fantastic thing about Wahanda is that it also offers FREE deals – like gym passes, personal training sessions, pilates and reflexology sessions and even burlesque dance classes! There’s a whole range of free offers but be careful what you go for – a lot of them are simply consultations for things like botox, teeth whitening and cosmetic surgery. You’re not going to get your fine lines removed for free!
You can search for deals in your region by clicking on the map if the daily deal doesn’t take your fancy. The site also offers spa breaks in France and Italy but these are more holiday bookings than they are discount deals, so stick to the UK for the real bargains. You can, however, use the site as a how-to health and beauty guide. Got a question? Post it online and you’ll be notified by email when another user offers their advice.
As with Groupon, each deal is timed and the site will announce when the deal has tipped. You can’t refer friends though, so you’re really counting on others buying the deal as well.
Moneymagpie rating: ***
Best for families
Likebees is a family-orientated site featuring offers on children’s toys, games and books. There’s a good mix of fun and educational deals and like most sites there’s a deal of the day along with a few extra ones.
Daily deals will be sent into your inbox, and whilst you do have access to previous offers, most have a short shelf life. Therefore you should get your skates on and buy any offers you like the look of as they do go quick.
Likebees does let you know how long you’ve got left to buy the deal, as well as how many other people have bought it. They’ll also give you £5 if you refer a friend, which is a nice little bonus as not only does that mean more money for you, it’ll also boost your chances of bagging some great deals if your friends buy them too.
Moneymagpie rating: ***
Best for days out
Wowcher features some really nice deals and there’s a good range of fun things on offer. These include spa breaks, paintballing, afternoon teas, meals out, museum trips, beauty treatments, cinema tickets and more, so the chances are you’ll come across something that appeals. They’re particularly strong on days out and attractions, so it’s a great site if you’re looking for a weekend activity.
Every day the website runs one new deal which is sent to your inbox. They don’t offer any incentives (i.e. money) for you getting a bunch of your friends to join, but then the more people that buy the deal the more likely it is to go ahead, so you’re still on to a winner. The website for this one is also excellent – the deals are clearly presented with good descriptions of what will happen on the day, and you can read reviews of past deals to get a feel for whether or not the company offers good experiences. Again, though, make sure you book quickly, as all the previous deals we viewed had expired so there’s no real chance of you bagging a last-minute bargain.
Moneymagpie rating: ***
Best for indulgence
Keynoir markets itself in a different way to the deal sites above. It’s a ‘private members’ site offering deals on more high-end experiences such as dinner at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant or treatments in a very posh spa that isn’t featured anywhere else.
This is the only site that you have to register with before you can gain access. Currently it’s free to join but they’re planning on bringing in a membership fee later on. So get in now while it’s free so that you can make the most of their deals now and later.
You can’t view the site, their deals or anything before you are a member. This only really takes a few minutes, but the confirmation email can take a little while to come through.
Currently Keynoir only caters for London although it has plans for expansion. Also, you can only view the deal of the day, you can’t see what else they have offered or any other live deals. Once you’ve been a member for a while you’ll get a better idea of what they offer.
Keynoir claim they’re creating ‘Europe’s best local lifestyle group’ so the deals reflect this. Offers tend to be indulgent, luxurious experiences – at amazing rates.
Moneymagpie rating: ***
If you like to grab a bargain then these sites are definitely worth a go, as there are so many deals to be had. The good thing is that new deals are added every day but you’re not overloaded with offers, so you shouldn’t be tempted to sign up to too many than are good for you.
Don’t sign up to an offer just because it’s offering a good discount, though. 50% off a skydiving session sounds great but if you’re afraid of heights it’s just a waste of money. And keep in mind that the money will be taken from your account as soon as the offer reaches its minimum number of buyers, so only commit to the offer if you’re happy to pay for it.
Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to register your payment details in order to take advantage of any deals. Your information will be kept safe and if you encounter any problems just deactivate your account immediately.
There’s always the chance that a deal will be cancelled but you can increase your chances of it going ahead – and make some money with some of the sites – by referring friends to the deals.
If you’re worried about getting hoards of emails in your inbox every day then set up a separate account (say a free one with Hotmail or Yahoo) and use that for your deals. Just remember, though, that most deals only last for that day so if you don’t get to it in time you could miss it.
All in all, group buying sites are a goldmine for bargain hunters and you can get some great deals. We recommend that you sign up to all of them to get your choice of great offers every day.
We love hearing from you, so if you’ve managed to grab yourself some hot deals from group buying sites, make sure you let us know about the great offers you snapped up on our Facebook and Twitter pages.