July 14 - Mobile phone company O2 launches deal service to cash in on huge growth in the online voucher market. Kirsty Basset reports.
UK telecoms provider 02 is the latest company hoping to secure a slice of the lucrative discount voucher market. It's launched a new deals service and will be competing alongside the likes of Groupon and Facebook - to entice customers with discounts and bargains in tough economic times. Partnering with well known British high street brands and taking advantage of its mobile customer base, 02 says it's uniquely positioned. (SOUNDBITE)(English) SALLY COWDRY, MARKETING AND CONSUMER DIRECTOR AT O2 SAYING: "There is no other big trusted brand with a huge loyal customer base in this space. There's no one else truly end to end mobile and there' nobody else that offers experiences, little touches to bring a smile to the everyday, as well as the offers and the discounts." With rapid growth internationally in the discount market, it's no surprise companies are scrambling to get a piece of the action. Director of Global Retail at Iconoculture, Greg Hodge. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DIRECTOR - GLOBAL RETAIL AT ICONOCULTURE, GREG HODGE SAYING: "People reckon it's been growing at about 500 per cent the last couple of years. Groupon, between 2009 and 2010 grew over 700 per cent and has actually delivered sales of $1 billion already so the growth is phenomenal and not seen in any kind of retail industry before." Analysts expect more companies to enter the discount space but warn they need to find a way to stand out. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DIRECTOR - GLOBAL RETAIL AT ICONOCULTURE, GREG HODGE SAYING: "What customers and consumers are really crying out for is personalised offers. Offers that actually mean something to them. And that's where the key challenge for Groupon or any other companies entering the market is to personalise the offers so they know your likes and dislikes so they don't bombard you with massages or sushi if you don't eat sushi or want massages." Another challenge for retailers is that customers may get too accustomed to not paying full price. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.