Group buying, social commerce, daily deals… whatever you call it, the latest social coupon phenomenon to hit the web has one more competitor amongst its ranks: Seattle-based Wrazz. This new startup, set to launch on August 6th, certainly has its work cut out for it. With giants like Groupon and LivingSocial already rooted in many large markets and expanding into new cities regularly, it will be an uphill battle to offer bigger, better deals to entice online shoppers to use its service.
The idea behind these social buying websites is that customers should be encouraged, in a variety of ways, to shop local. Wrazz has teamed up with over 15,000 local businesses in the Seattle area to offer its first batch of users a wide selection of deep discounts. With many of the deals projected to offer up to 80% off goods and services in the area, Wrazz stands a good chance of attracting users interested in being rewarded for visiting local vendors.
While bringing consumers deals from local merchants is the crux of most of these social coupon providers, Wrazz has several unique features that sets it apart from the crowd. It incorporates geo-location features that allows Wrazz users to see where their friends are currently enjoying deals, and has a “Game Plan” feature designed to allow easy coordination for friends to meet up.
Being something of a FourSquare / LivingSocial mashup, Wrazz certainly has an attractive offering. However, competitors LivingSocial claims to have an 85 million users base and Groupon has recently purchased one of its smaller competitors, MyCityDeals. These two sites represent the “big boys” in the social buying arena, and stand to be Wrazz’s chief competition.
Social buying is clearly not going away any time soon. And it’s no wonder: businesses love the publicity and potential swarms of new patrons that these sites promise, while the sites themselves get their cut at the point of sale. Bringing consumers and local businesses together is a natural outgrowth of the surge in popularity that geo-location services have been seeing lately and the steady growth in social networks. People love to socialize, love to shop, and love to save. Wrazz is entering this market with gusto, and its unique position as a smartphone-based app rather than a website shows that it’s positioning itself as a leader in a new niche.