Latest update: August 21st, 2012
The world of shopping changed forever three years ago with the launch of Groupon, a website that negotiates discounts with popular local and national businesses and passes the savings along to the consumer via a discounted daily deal emailed directly to members. For the kosher consumer, the savings became even more appealing with the launch of discount deal websites aimed squarely at the Jewish market, such as Jewpon, jdeal and Kosher Kouponz.
Membership in these programs is free and consumers enroll by visiting the desired website and specifying their location, enabling the program to provide them with discounts relevant to their geographic area. Recent deals have offered savings like $12 for a $42 ticket to the NY Skyride at the Empire State Building, $180 for twenty units of Botox from an Upper West Side ophthalmologist, normally priced at $360 (both from www.jdeal.com), a free $50 coupon towards the purchase of a suit from the Brooklyn location of The Hat Box , $12 for $25 dollars worth of cosmetics from ShaindeeCosmetics.com (both from www.jewpon.com), a free El Al Matmid Membership, a $25 value and $25 for $50 worth of food at the Deal, New Jersey location of Dougie’s (both at www.KosherKouponz.com).
Kosher Kouponz, which offered its first deal in December 2010, serves members in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Five Towns, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Chicago. They have also featured separate seasonal sections on their site, including a Catskills section during the summer and special holiday deals for Sukkos. With approximately 25,000 subscribers, over two hundred merchants and a staff of over ten employees, Kosher Kouponz continues to grow and hopes to expand to more cities in the near future. Additionally they plan to add hotel bookings and a year round discount card, which for a small annual fee, would entitle members to enjoy numerous benefits including year round discounts at participating merchants.
Kosher Kouponz estimates that approximately half of its deals are food related. Its best selling offering to date has been a deal that offered $50 worth of food at Aron’s Kissena Farms in Queens for just $35. 5053 Aron’s coupons were purchased by Kosher Kouponz members, with 2000 coupons purchased within the first twenty-four hours, according to VosIzNeias.com. Kosher Kouponz typically alternates local deals one day and Internet deals the next, with the highlighted deal of the day moving to the sidebar to make room for the next day’s featured offering.
“Deals must be of value to our members,” said Kosher Kouponz CEO David Siegel. “At times we need to offer discounts of fifty percent but other smaller discounts can be valuable if it is something our members definitely need. We keep exploring new options so that we can continue to bring value to the Jewish consumer.”
“Sites like ours work because they target very specific audiences,” said jdeal founder Jodi Samuels. jdeal, which boasts “seriously surprising deals,” serves customers in New York and Los Angeles and estimates that seventy percent of its 40,000 members hail from the New York area. Their first deal ran on November 22, 2010 and since then they have featured over two hundred and seventy unique merchants.
While, like Kosher Kouponz, jdeal has found that food deals sell very well, they have found that they have had tremendous success with charity deals and recently raised $30,000 for Meir Panim, which provides assistance to the poverty stricken in Israel.
“We try to do one charity a week,” explained Ms. Samuels. “We are currently doing Sharsheret, but have also done the UJA as well as others. It is really a no brainer for them. We give them a discounted rate and they get huge exposure on our site, without the cost of having to print brochures.”
In fact, the most successful deals on jdeal have been for charities, although a deal for $100 worth of merchandise for $50 at Park East, a kosher supermarket on the Lower East Side, sold six hundred deals in a single day, before it finally maxed out after selling $5,400 worth of coupons.
Aside from their featured weekly seriously surprising deal, jdeal’s staff of sixteen contractors, most of whom are based in Israel, is planning a Buy Israel Week at the end of November in conjunction with print media outlets which, Ms. Samuels promises, will promote Israeli products in a very big way.
“A deal a day the kosher way,” is the motto at Jewpon, which has over 25,000 subscribers and over 20,000 Facebook fans enjoying the deals, both local and national, which have been offered by over four hundred merchants on the site. Since opening for business last November, Jewpon has been providing discounts to customers in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto and plans to expand its market overseas by targeting London as well.
Chaim Chernoff, Chief Operating Officer at Jewpon says part of the company’s success is due to the diversity of their staff.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” said Chernoff. “We have employees who are more modern, others who come from chareidi backgrounds and we all pool our thoughts and try to find deals that will appeal to all segments of the Jewish community.”
Featuring both local and national deals, Jewpon’s most popular deal to date offering home delivery of three gourmet Fresh Diet meals plus two snacks, for only $10, providing a $49.99 saving, was snatched up by close to 1000 members. Deals typically run for approximately three days before they are removed from the site.
Jewpon places special emphasis on customer service and offers live chat on its site daily from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon and then again from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
“If anyone has any issues of any sort, we want to be able to help them,” said Chernoff. “Our goal is to try to help Jews save money. We work hard to not only do that but provide pleasant service as well.”
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