• No minimum number of buyers needed
• Large selection of experience and vacation deals
• Easy to use
• Sharing bonus
• Less variety of deals
• No refunds after five days
LivingSocial looks a little like Groupon and its model is the same – expect all the deals are available and you don’t need to wait for a certain number of people to sign up before the deal happens. The site is fun to use and good for people looking for discounts on services, goods, and experiences.
LivingSocial is undeniably Groupon’s biggest competitor in the daily deal market and there are many similarities between the two sites. LivingSocial launched with a deal for Zengo’s restaurant in DC in 2009 and has since signed up more than 40 million members and received multi-million-dollar funding from Amazon. Does this group buying website offer as much as Groupon?
Signup with your email address and choose your city. You will then receive a daily email, although you do not need to signup in order to view the deals.
LivingSocial offers deals for many cities in North America, Oceania and Europe. Deals are not only for local businesses although the majority of them are for local experiences.
There’s a good variety of deals available, although many of them are for food and most of the food discounts are basically 50% off the price of a meal. It doesn’t look as varied as the Groupon offering. The website claims to provide deals up to 90% off but most of them seem to be 50%. The LivingSocial site offers some discounts, like shooting ranges, which Groupon will not display on principal. The Adventures section offers experiences like beach yoga classes, rock climbs, painting days and wine tastings; all experiences which you may not have thought about trying before. The Escapes section is for vacations, hotels and trips in US and further afield.
You can check out the nearby deals in the section below the main deal. Another good feature for inspiration, not necessarily deals, is the 365 Things To Do In.... section that suggests an interesting place to check out.
You get your daily deal by email when you sign up to the daily email newsletter. Follow the LivingSocial deals on Twitter or through the Facebook page. You can also sign up for deals on your mobile by downloading the LivingSocial app. This is useful if you’re out and about and, for example, want to find somewhere to eat. The deals map locates deals at the bars and restaurants closest to you.
The layout of the deals is very similar to Groupon. There is a main description, and then the fine print gives details of the restrictions. There are no maps but there are addresses and you can get directions from the website. The restrictions seem to be a little more difficult to understand than Groupon’s. A clock countdown tells you how much time you have left to buy.
Pay for your chosen deal with a credit card. Because there’s no waiting to see if enough people sign up, you automatically buy the deal and are charged the next day after the deal has closed. The link to your LivingSocial voucher follows immediately after your credit card has been charged. Deals bought on Friday, Saturday or Sunday get delivered on Monday – a bit of a shame if you want to use it over the weekend. It’s easy to purchase gifts for friends and family on the LivingSocial site.
The expiry date on your vouchers depends on the deal and also on the State you live in (different States have different laws regarding voucher expirations.) The business must honor your voucher throughout the time up until expiration, within the conditions listed when you bought the deal.
If you change your mind you need to cancel or modify your order before the deal ends, after this you will be charged. You can claim a refund within five days of buying the voucher but after this, you cannot get a refund unless the business goes bust.
Incentive & rewards
One rather unique feature is the sharing bonus – when you buy a deal you have a unique link that allows you to share it. If three more people buy the deal through your link, you get yours for free.
You can also get some money for referring friends. When you send the invitation to others and they sign up, your friend gets $5 for use on LivingSocial. If they make a first purchase, you also get $5.
Ease of use
LivingSocial is bright, clear, simple and fun to navigate. The deals are prominently displayed and purchasing is easy to complete. The site has separate sections for family deals and experiences so you can more easily search for things to do with the kids, plus different sections for vacations and experiences.
Help & support
LivingSocial has a comprehensive FAQs section plus a forum for entries on various topics of interest. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, you can email LivingSocial and they will typically answer emails within 24 hours. Or, call the support desk.
LivingSocial is a viable contender for Groupon’s crown. This group buying website is easy to use and makes looking for deals fun and exciting.
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