It is well known that Canadian consumers have high usability rates pertaining to loyalty programs and coupon use. Canadians love deals and marketers leverage this. However, what Canadian consumers lack in comparison to their US counterparts is a sense of knowledge as to where they can save, how often they can save and the different types of deals they can obtain from a myriad of locations.
About 2 weeks ago, the Canadian Deals Association officially launched what we called “The Entire Deals Ecosystem in Canada“. It is a slide depicting all the different deal categories, providers, technologies and services within Canada. It was very well received across the industry and hopefully it was a start to a more knowledgeable conversation within the retail industry and media pertaining to the role the deals sector plays in the consumer market.
Now, within the “Ecosystem” slide, it shows over 19 different deal categories where consumers can obtain deals and savings. Here is a summary of some of those categories. Clearly, Canada has a wide variety of saving methods. The reason many consumers only know about 3-4 of them is simply because there isn’t enough PR, not enough attention given to the whole sector. Our goal is to change that.
Daily Deal Providers
Ah, those 50% deals, those Restaurant, Spa, Travel, Products and local deals. This is the category that is still the most popular in Canada after almost 4 years. Daily deal providers sell vouchers, typically at 50% off, redeemable at local stores or online destinations. This category is responsible for driving about $400 million in retail deals shopping in Canada. The leaders in Canada are: Groupon, Teambuy, Wagjag, Tuango. The up and comers are Living Social, Buytopia, Goyub, Social Shopper, City Linked, rDeals, and Astral Radio Deals. Niche providers include jaunt.ca for travel, Parents Canada Deals, Ethical Deals. In total, there are about 45 daily deal providers in the country.
Daily Deal Aggregators
A daily deal aggregator helps consumers find and search deals at all those daily deal providers. Instead of receiving dozens of emails from daily deal sites, Aggregators send you one email with all deals corresponding to the city or category you want. Essentially they are a search engine for deals. The more popular ones in the country are Redflagdeals, Onespout, mydealbag, cake deals, dealivery. There are about 50 of these as well.
These are eCommerce retailers that focus on providing consumers with deals and special offers from top brand name items. They have become extremely popular with consumers, especially women buying clothing. Most items are at 70% off retail. The top site in Canada and one of the tops in North America is Montreal’s Beyond the Rack. Other providers include Peacock Parade, iget.it and homesav for home furnishings. Gilt Group and My Habit from the USA are also shipping to Canada. However, some top daily deal providers such as Teambuy, Wagjag, Groupon, and Buytopia have already entered into the flash sales/private sales space offering products as well and that will be beneficial for consumers.
Coupons have, of course, been popular for decades. The advance in technologies, internet and mobile have offered consumers the ability of obtaining deals anywhere they are, anytime they want. Manufacturers and retailers publish coupons and then distribute them through consumer coupon providers. Some of the top online coupon sites in Canada include RedFlagDeals, SmartCanucks, Savealoonie, Saveland, GreatCanadianrebates, and vouchercodes.ca, among others. They all publish the top coupons that retailers in Canada are promoting. Some top coupon providers have exclusive deals with brands or retailers and those deals cannot be found anywhere else.
These bloggers approach coupons in a different way. They provide content, articles, stories on savings, and personal interaction with the consumer and the coupon. Meaning, they will write an article or highlight a select amount of deals offered by brands or retailers in Canada. However, they do not have the shear amount of coupon listings as a true Coupon site would have. In some cases they also highlight the coupons promoted on couponing sites. Some of the top sites include Mrs January, Simply Frugal, Calgary Deals Blog, and Bargain Moose. However there are thousands of these blogs in Canada.
Like coupon sites, these services focus on providing consumers with coupons. However, where they differ is the fact that they only focus on grocery and household items. They typically only promote consumer packages goods from the likes of Procter & Gamble, General Mills and the like. Groceries are one of the leading expenditures for Canadian families and although there aren’t nearly enough coupons/savings providers in Canada as compared to the USA, it is getting better. The leading providers in Canada are Websaver.ca, Save.ca, gocoupons, smartsource, and P&G everyday. Specialty services around groceries have also popped up in the past year, namely Wagjag’s Grocers and mobile savings from Checkout 51. Grocery alerts can also be found on groceryalerts.ca. Given the budgets that consumers spend on Groceries and the advance in technologies, look for more Grocery apps and services over the next year or two.
Here is a category that is unfortunately lacking in Canada compared to the USA. Canadian consumers don’t really have many options. The leading providers are RedFlagDeals mobile, Shopwise from Yellow Pages, and Shopcatch from Torstar.
There are a few others but none that dominate nationally. There is room in this category for expansion and niche services. For instance Checkout 51’s grocery app or Reebee’s Flyer app.
Cash Back Providers
Like Coupon sites, but these providers decided to share their revenues with consumers. Retailers pay these sites a commission for sending a buying customer their way. These sites then share a percentage of these commissions in the form of a cash back directly with the consumers. So every time a consumer clicks on a link on these sites and then makes a purchase on the retailer’s site, the consumer gets a cash back check. If the consumer is a regular online shopper, these savings can really add up over the course of a year. These types of sites are very popular in the US and just getting traction here in Canada. some of the top providers include: RedFlagDeals, eBates Canada, Mr. Rebates, Swagbucks, and of course several credit card providers like AMEX offer cash back on all purchases.
Membership Programs/Savings Cards
These types of savings programs rarely get any press or media attention. A shame since their savings can add up over a year. These are programs where the consumer typically pays to be part of a membership and receives a membership code or card that can be used for savings. Some of the more popular ones in the country are: the hugely popular Student Price Card (SPCcard.ca), CAA, irewards from Chapters, Toronto Vegetarian Association, Hockey Club Canada, Shop the Block, Mummies list, Edge Card, and Yess card. There are many others and all typically negotiate between 5-15% off on the merchants and retailers who participate in the program. The Student Price card and iRewards from Chapters being the largest in the country. However, the Student Price Card has the largest collection of large, brand retail offers and discounts than any other deal provider in the country. If you have student aged kids, buy the card.
Deals on restaurants are the #1 category that consumers want. The best deals on restaurant are offered by the majority of daily deals providers. They have made restaurant outings a lot less expensive with their 50% off deals over the past few years. However, other providers also offer restaurant deals, albeit between 5-30% off. Here are some of the popular ones in the country. Daily Deal sites with many restaurant deals: Groupon, Wagjag, Teambuy, Tuango, Buytopia, Living Social, City Linked, Goyub, Social Shopper. Restaurant portals and directories with coupon offers: Dine.to, Restomontreal.ca, Food Vancouver, Specials Today, QDG; Other Restaurant deals from Dealicious.ca, Dining Date night, Yummy Canada.
Deals on Travel are the #2 or #3 most popular category because they are expensive. There are numerous sites across the country that offer deals or alert you to deals. This category is a more mature category since deal provider have been around for years. The top travel deals can be found daily deal sites like Groupon Getaways, Teambuy, Living Social Escapes, Wagjag, Jaunt.ca, Travelzoo and Tuango. Top Deal alert sites include TravelAlerts, Travelzoo, and Y Deals. Local travel and local tourist deals can be found at Go Toronto, Torotno City Pass, Montreall Access, Passport Vacances Quebec and Minicards Canada which offers special promotions to local attractions, tourist places, and restaurants.
Spa deals is another top 3 category. Mostly because services are expensive and women buy them in droves. Again, the top Spa deal in the country are from Daily Deal providers like Groupon, Teambuy, Wagjag, Tuango, Living Social and Buytopia. Then there are Spa specific promotional gift certificate services like Wayspa and Spafinder which can provide 15% discount on most spa services. Another good spa deal destination is Spa and Travel which offers numerous savings off spas they promote.
Ah, the coupon book. Yes, very old school, but still a popular marketing vehicle. The grand daddy of them all, Entertainment book just announced that it will be closing down. As such, there is NO national coupon book leader in Canada any longer. The largest competitor in the USA is Savearound and they only have two cities in Canada (Vancouver and Victoria). We anticipate that they’ll open Toronto soon enough. Other coupon books across the country include The Conscience Guide, POM Passport, Healthy Shopper, and Fun Clip coupons.
So what are Flyers doing in this post anyway? Well, we decided to add flyers not only to this post but also to our Deal Provider Directory and to the Deals Ecosystem Slide. Why? Simple. The front and back pages of flyers are full of deals. Until very recently, there hasn’t been an aggregator or distributor of flyer deals. Consumers had to collect them manually and go through them one by one. Kind of a waste of time. Given the advances in technology and mobile apps, the so called Flyer is being given an upgrade. Here are some of the more popular Flyer services in Canada where consumers can more easily find deals to their favourite stores: Flyerland, RedFlagDeals, Reebee, FlyerCity, Flyertown, Publisac, Smartflyer Canada, Saveland, Circulaires.ca. Over the next 12-124 months, expect a wide range of flyer apps and online services.
Deals/Offers from Credit Card providers
Some credit Card companies offer more than the typical “points”. Some offer cash back on purchases like AMEX, from 1-3% cash back on all purchases and some offer other deals to card holders. Over the years VISAPERKS used to be a popular program. Unfortunately VISA shut it down in 2012. Instead look for the following Credit Card offers: MasterCard has the Priceless service and offer special discounts to attractions, restaurants, shopping and travel in Toronto and other international cities. Visa has their INFINATE program where they offer deals to restaurants and accommodations across the country.
There are too many direct mail coupon services across the country to name. But these are still very popular and very local, even down to the neighborhood. Some of the top publishing and distribution companies in the country include Valassis, Valpak, Money Saver and Publisac.
If you work for a top Canadian company, chances are your company has an employee purchase program of some kind. Ask your HR department. The largest program, by far, is from the folks at Venngo. They have deals and offers from an impressive list of Canadian retailers. Venngo and Student Price Card are probably the two deal providers with the most impressive list of retailer offers. Venngo deals can be accessed through your corporate portal. Other employee savings services include those from Perkopolis and the Corporate Plus Card.
Small Business Deals
Deals are not only for consumers. Some providers also focus on the small business sector. The leading providers include VentureOne, GoBIZ from Visa, Mastercard has Easy Savings and AMEX does not have deals in Canada, they have points. Unfortunately, there aren’t any daily deal providers that are large enough who focus on the small business sector.
So there you have it. Consumers have a wide variety of ways to save when shopping. Some even combine some of the above (cash back credit card purchase + purchase with credit card on a deal site or another cash back site) for additional savings. This industry certainly changes. The past 4 years has brought on significant changes. However, what is absolutely clear and what will never change is the thirst consumers have for deals. The demand will always be there. Now, how can the industry best supply or grow that demand?