Compared to other countries, Italy has never taken to coupons and organized discounts. Now, two firms, Tuangon.it and Citydeal, are betting on the success of an Italian online collective buying sector, and they expect it to grow both in Italy and abroad.
Tuangon.it is already in operation in Italy, and the German firm Citydeal has launched a new online collective buying initiative in Rome and Milan, which has already shown signs of success.
Citydeal offers discounted tickets to the cinema, the theatre, concerts, restaurants and the like. Once a minimum number of online customers sign up for a discounted service, the sites negotiate discounted prices with firms, and using the promise of a minimum number of customers, these firms get the best discounts. However, if not enough people sign up, then the deal is cancelled, and customers are not charged. For this reason, it is in a customer's best interest to spread the word on the deals offered to make sure they get the discount. Such is the power of collective buying.
Tuangon and Citydeal are based on the American firm Groupon, which opened in 2009 and now has more than one million customers in over 50 U.S. cities. Following its inaugural deal in Rome and Milan, through which 4,500 customers purchased cinema tickets for one euro each, Citydeal plans to offer collective buying in Turin, Genoa, Bologna, Padua, Naples, Florence, and the Adriatic coast by this summer.
Deals range from a half-price sushi dinners to 40 percent discounts for spa treatments. Although Citydeal already has over 4,000 fans on Facebook, Lorenzo Manes, Citydeal manager for Italy, admits ‘With respect to Spain, here [in Italy] the service has taken a while to take off. Italians are much more sceptical of e-commerce.' Nonetheless, he is confident that Italian customers will eventually trust the service and the deals it offers.