6 Deal Platforms For Targeting Upscale Customers

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To be deemed successful, a daily deal promotion can’t just attract new customers — it must attract the right type of new customers. As businesses continue to search for ways to target the type of clientele that can afford to pay full-price for their products and services, more and more are turning toward deal platforms with “upscale” and “affluent” subscribers as a solution.

The benefits to going this route are clear: Merchants get their names in front of potential customers in areas with high household incomes — 70% of Gilt City subscribers have a household income above $100,000, while only 29% of Groupon subscribers meet that same income threshold — and hopefully avoid the dreaded “deal seekers” in the process. Additionally, business owners like Jael Toledo of Cookie Couture in Miami say being associated with higher-end sites helps boost their own cache among luxury consumers.

Here are six examples of local deals platforms that businesses can use to target affluent customers:

1. Gilt City
Available in 13 major cities across the country, Gilt City is a deals site that offers luxury experiences, services, and products to more than 4 million online subscribers. Ninety-eight percent of those 4 million subscribers live inside city limits, and 70% say they are likely to return to a business they visited through a deal site. Gilt City works with businesses in the dining, entertainment, beauty, and wellness industries, and hires “curators” to work with merchants to create the types of one-of-a-kind promotions that get Gilt City offers noticed by high-end consumers.

2. LivingSocial Gourmet
LivingSocial Gourmet describes itself as an “invitation-only collection of culinary experiences.” The platform gives merchants with fine-dining establishments a way to offer daily deals without de-valuing or cheapening their brands. Since launching in Boston and Atlanta in 2011, the platform has quickly expanded across the country into markets like San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Portland, Ore. LivingSocial’s GM of restaurants, Alli Phillips, says its Gourmet subscribers, “appreciate food and dine out frequently,” with the average offer costing upwards of $100 per person.

3. Rue Local
Since launching in Boston in 2011, Rue La La’s local vertical has rapidly expanded to major cities like Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. Rue Local deals run the gamut from fashion-focused — like discounted gift certificates at designer boutiques — to deals on businesses in the dining, beauty, travel, and entertainment industries. Rue Local President Mark McWeeny says his company’s 4.2 million subscribers, “spend more than the average ticket, tell all their friends, and they come back” after their deals have been redeemed.

4. Groupon Reserve
The upscale arm of its parent company, Groupon, Groupon Reserve offers deals at fine-dining establishments in New York City, Seattle, and Orlando. Rather than offering $10-for-$20 coupons — a typical restaurant offer on any local Groupon site — Groupon Reserve vouchers generally cost between $60 and $100. Although these high-end deals were available only to selected Groupon subscribers when the vertical launched last October, today anyone can buy a deal through Groupon Reserve. Groupon has not released demographic information about the selected subscribers that receive its Groupon Reserve deals via email.

5. Vente-Privée
The European flash sale giant — which brought in more than $1 billion in sales in 2010 — came stateside in 2011 when it launched a joint venture with American Express. American Express card-members that subscribe to the sale site get a $25 statement credit with their first purchase of $50 or more. By working with American Express and promoting the site to the card company’s members, Vente-Privée has been able to assure the luxury brands it works with that their merchandise will be seen by the types of “high-value” customers that can afford to pay full-price in the future.

6. Savored
Savored is a high-end daily deal platform that offers discounts at “premiere” dining establishments in 10 major cities. The company has been able to differentiate itself from other dining-focused discount sites by partnering with Zagat and giving subscribers complimentary access to restaurant ratings and reviews. Savored members pay $10 each time they make a restaurant reservation through the online platform, and in turn receive an automatic 30% discount applied directly to their restaurant bills. Upscale restaurants get the advertising benefit that comes with running a daily deal offer with a high-end company, but without the paperwork and hassle that typically results when customers bring in paper coupons for redemption.

Know of other deal platforms that businesses should use to attract affluent customers? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.