With only weeks left until the holiday shopping season kicks off, Walmart has launched its version of social-driven group buying: CrowdSaver. Powered by Facebook, CrowdSaver is an application that will list a deal on Walmart’s fan page, however, it will only activate once enough people “like” the deal. Once the required fan threshold for the deal has been reached, the discounted price will be available for the product at Walmart.com.
This is the key difference between established group buying sites like Groupon and Tippr, and Walmart’s new CrowdSaver. While prices are set for Groupon coupons, the popularity of the coupon does not affect the price point. However, with CrowdSaver, you must share with and recruit your friends to “like” the deal to unlock the discounted price. For the price to drop, the deal must go viral via and within Facebook, bringing back Facebook users to Walmart’s fan page.
Walmart’s innovative combination of Facebook and group buying power has potential. Over one third of the U.S. population uses Facebook, which is built to share information and data. Group buying relies on the viral potential of social media for a deal’s success. Walmart has the potential for developing a huge fan and customer base by merging what has become viral coupons into an inherently viral platform.
Unfortunately, unlike Groupon and other group-buying sites, Walmart’s discounts are less than desirable. A 42″ Plasma TV was only unlocked for an 18% discount; most group-buying coupons range between 30-50% off, if not more. If anything, it looks like Walmart is only using CrowdSaver as an incentive to bring customers to its Web site without losing a penny of profit.
We will likely see the true potential for of CrowdSaver if and when Walmart unleashes larger discounts, such as during Black Friday. Or, when someone else takes the concept and hikes up the discount, first.
What do you think? Is CrowdSaver worth it?