Are discount sites like Treatwell ruining our business?

#1
I just wanted to get an idea of what others thought about discount sites such as Treatwell/ Groupon. Treatwell has recently put up their commission to 35%. Therefore, the time someone has a last minute discount plus that commission and post VAT we are getting barely anything for our services.

I google large chains who are giving out rediculous discounts like 70% off. How are small independents meant to compare? Is this really where the salon business model is going?

Any tips on how salons have avoided them successfully would be appreciated.

TIA

Hannah
 

BannerPenguin

Well-Known Member
#2
Groupon shouldn't be touched but in my opinion, Treatwell can serve a purpose. From what I understand it's only 35% commission on the first booking with recurring ones being no commission. No discount. You charge what you want.

Treatwell are top of Google and getting traffic so you're paying a small fee to be seen. Paying 35% commission to hopefully pick up a regular client seems worthwhile. Sure, you'll only break even on the first appointment but the subsequent ones will be all yours.
 

jamiereid92

Well-Known Member
#3
It depends what clients you are looking for. People who want high quality will not use these websites. Not all clients want the cheapest.

I think Treadwell are changing their pricing structure, so it's not as simple as 35% of first appointment anymore.

A typical client to use Treatwell is someone who wants a one off massage or one off blowdry. It's unlikely they will become a regular client, the next time they want something done they will go where they get the discount again. Clients who use these websites only have loyalty to discounts. That doesnt make them bad people, but it's not on our interests to advertise to them x
 

BannerPenguin

Well-Known Member
#4
It depends what clients you are looking for. People who want high quality will not use these websites. Not all clients want the cheapest.

I think Treadwell are changing their pricing structure, so it's not as simple as 35% of first appointment anymore.

A typical client to use Treatwell is someone who wants a one off massage or one off blowdry. It's unlikely they will become a regular client, the next time they want something done they will go where they get the discount again. Clients who use these websites only have loyalty to discounts. That doesnt make them bad people, but it's not on our interests to advertise to them x
I wasn't aware that Treatwell offers discounts? I thought the salon/individual sets whatever pricing they want. People use them because they market hard and dominate a lot of the Google listings so get a lot of traffic.
 

jamiereid92

Well-Known Member
#5
Yeah they have discounts aswell, so if you offer a discount your salon will appear at the top. Well that's what it was like when it was wahanda, and if you look on their website and do a search for salons in your area, the first ones will be discounted
 

NailtechJoe

IN:@thenailmaestro
#6
Personally I had 2 requests from similar business platforms and I would stay clear from them. One of them actually handled your own personal transactions and you would be essentially working for this business as they would pay you and take a fee for bookings from their site. If you want a high quality returning clientele, my advice is to stay away from these platforms and do your own advertising. These platforms are essentially middlemen and they will squeeze your profit margins and will attract lower quality clients; i.e. discount hunters and non returning clients.
 

NailtechJoe

IN:@thenailmaestro
#7
In answer to your question, yes. It is a race to the bottom if you let them.
 

#8
I hate those services, they make businesses compete not by the quality of their services or the customer experience they provide, but compete only by the price. The best way to build your own brand, your own audience.
 

JanVenus

Active Member
#9
My Sister-in-law keeps asking why I don't do groupon deals to get more clients in and I always tell her the same thing - I wouldn't make any money from it and I wouldn't get regular clients because no one who uses Groupon wants to pay full price for anything. Treatwell ... they don't let mobile businesses join up.
 

NailtechJoe

IN:@thenailmaestro
#10
My Sister-in-law keeps asking why I don't do groupon deals to get more clients in and I always tell her the same thing - I wouldn't make any money from it and I wouldn't get regular clients because no one who uses Groupon wants to pay full price for anything. Treatwell ... they don't let mobile businesses join up.
I'd say the same thing as soon as I knew what their business model was like.

I have the expertise to create a similar platform and I could potentially create a headache for them, but the market is already too saturated on these types and it is a matter of time when some will flunk. I did once a CMS directory for mental health counsellors and all they did was pay a yearly subscription to join and be listed and I'd do the rest. Dropped my business concept as soon as I started Uni.
 

TheDuchess

Well-Known Member
#11
I think Treatwell works well for clients who are looking for availability for a particular service at a particular time/date. We use Treatwell and it's annoying to make so little out if it, but the reviews gain us lots of visibility on google. It's worth paying for this IMO.

We don't upload all of our services, so clients can only book certain treatments. We block out our peak booking hours and only upload our off peak availability/new therapists. I'm only bookable through Treatwell about 10 days a year, and those dates are earmarked as my holiday dates for next year! We've learned to manage Treatwell to sell off our surplus capacity. We track the number of discounted (Treatwell) services we offer and they are a tiny %age of our turnover.

We have used Groupon in the past and will do in the future. We use it to build the speed and experience of our new starters, to practise new services and to retail products associated with the discounted service, rather than selling off our off peak time, (which we upload on Treatwell). We are always up front to our Groupon Customers about why we are running an offer and we've never had a negative response. Customers would rather we explain than suspect that they are propping up a fake discounted service or a failing business that isn't worth the full rate. Again, we manage our availability carefully. If customers offer a Groupon voucher at checkout without having told us at the time that they booked, we explain carefully why their voucher isn't valid for the treatment that they have received. As long as the terms and conditions are correct and you're not afraid to point out, politely, that the client is in error, there is rarely a problem.

We find that we get a few repeat or additional bookings or sales out of Groupon, which when we look at the "cost" of the offer, (the no of sales x the discount and Groupon's commission) ensure that we break even - so we've achieved our training/marketing objectives at nil cost.
 

#12
In my expereince with groupon anyway the places who do these offers on groupon treat the customer with a groupon voucher horridly. I tried groupon 4 times and 3 times i had a terrible experience. Saying that the diamond wand was broke for dermabrasion treatment when i called to make appointment, sighing and tuting at a groupon customer and staing i am a groupon customer and i felt so embarrased, rushing the procedure and then telling me too pay full price for better procedure

So i wouldnt worry about the discount treatments on these sites being able to ruin our bussiness.

Its right people only go as a one off usually to try something never tried before.
 

Semt

New Member
#13
They seem to just get you clients that always want discounts...& if they don’t get them they’ll go to the next salon. Not loyal, no rebooking & constant complaining because they can’t really afford what they want most of the time so they’re never happy
Also disrespectful & late all the time because they don’t value you
Gives your salon a bad name
 
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