What makes a good merchant?

The following post is provided by Colin Brown from Offeron.com, one of Canada’s up and coming daily deal competitors. Colin is responsible for Offeron’s operations. Within, Colin discusses some of the criteria they use to determine what makes a good merchant to run a daily deal campaign with. Thank you Colin.



If there is anything true about the daily deal industry is that you cannot predict the effectiveness of the promotion or in other words how well the deal will sell. There have been many deals offering what would be considered obscure or none-mainstream products/services that have exceeded expectations. At the same time, there have been good deals for quality services/products that have underperformed. Why? This industry is not invincible to the seasonality of sales or economic conditions like any other but when you rule those factors out working with a “good merchant” you are almost 100% guaranteed to have a better promotion.

Many people have seen the big deals like Whole Foods and Amazon in the USA featuring on Living Social which sold 1 million vouchers and 1.3 million vouchers respectively. We will start defining what a “good merchant” is by using two of the highest grossing deals in the industry’s history and then apply it to local business.  The quick answer to why these deals sold well is “It’s Amazon…” or “It’s Whole food….” But there are many factors at play that make a good merchant for a daily deal site to work with. Below I have outlined what I would consider the top six characteristics (in no particular order) of a “good merchant” in this industry.

  1. Brand awareness –Does the merchant have a large positive reputation? This is one of the more obvious characteristics.
  2. Engaged – Does the merchant actively engage in the promotion? Are they informing their current clientele, being active on  discussion boards and using other means to engage their potential new customers?
  3. Capacity – Can the merchants handle the influx of new customers from their promotion?
  4. Follow through –Has the merchant trained/educated their staff? Are they following up with the new customers?
  5. Online presence – Does the merchant have a website, facebook page and twitter account?
  6. Wow factor – What about the merchant or deal is going to catch the consumer’s eye?


Amazon and Whole Foods checked off each of these items.

-They are big reputable companies who have invested in creating a brand and educating the public on their services
-They engaged the community. Whole Foods went beyond by contributing a portion of vouchers sold to charity
-They can both handle a huge influx of customers as Whole Foods has many locations and Amazon is an online service
-Both Amazon and Whole Foods are well known for their customer service
-They are both actively engaging customer on Facebook and twitter
-The wow factors in both deals comes from the merchant’s brand being well known and the practicality of the deals

Now how does this apply the small to medium size businesses which fill the majority of daily deal site rosters, especially in Canada? Most of these small to medium size merchants won’t hit each of these points. Yet, for those businesses I would check to see that they are engaged, have the capacity, follow through, they have a website and we have created a wow factor to their feature. In regards to brand awareness and an online presence many merchants will work with a daily deal site to help increase these areas.

At the end of the day these six characteristic are to guide the merchant to provide their new customers with a better experience. By giving these new customers the best experience possible they will increase the likelihood of retaining these new customers.

Colin Brown, Offeron



  1. rorymcmillan88@gmail.com'

    I am a huge fan of the daily deal industry and my business has seen significant increases in terms of revenue and traffic. This article also highlights the importance of informing your employees of the deal that is running for the day – and turning them into repeat clientele. Great article Colin!!