Groupon: $30 for $60 at Wine.com

Monday, December 27, 2010

About a month ago Wine.com did a $30 for $60 deal with Living Social.  They're now doing what appears to be the same deal with Groupon.  I have to say, I wasn't thrilled with the way the Living Social deal was structured and I let Wine.com know about it on Twitter.

There were three aspects of the deal I didn't like:

First is that the $60 Groupon can't be applied towards shipping costs.  To Massachusetts, it costs $12.95 to ship the first bottle so at minimum you end up spending $42.95 for $60 worth of wine.  That effectively makes the deal $30 for a $17.95 discount which is a lot less compelling than $30 for $60.

Second, the voucher isn't a gift card.  It's a discount code.  This is significant because Wine.com only allows you to enter one promotional code per order.  So say for example Wine.com is running a 1 cent shipping on $99 promotion - you can't stack that promotional code with the Groupon offer so you end up having to choose one or the other and the fully loaded cost of the wine shipped to your house isn't a very good deal.

Third, with the Living Social deal anyway, the promotional code didn't trigger until the total value of the products in your cart was $59 or more.  This seems incorrect to me.  Any product total of $60 or less should be free and any total over that should be reduced by $60.  The way it was structured seemed to encourage overshoot.

In total, the deal created a situation where it was impossible to achieve a 50% discount -and- you ended up being forced to spend more than the cost of the voucher.  When I buy a Groupon for a restaurant I can always choose to spend slightly less than the value of the voucher so I don't end up spending more on the deal than the voucher cost me.  But with this deal that isn't possible and that doesn't feel right to me.

All of that said, I'm going to take advantage of this offer too.  Why?  Well, they had a good deal last week on their Steward-Ship program where you could get holiday gift baskets shipped for free if you bought into the Steward-Ship program for $25 (regularly $49).  This program is similar to Amazon Prime (which I'm a huge fan of and almost anyone can try for free with Amazon Mom - check it out) in that it gives you free shipping on any order for a year.  But, a unique aspect of Steward-Ship is that it can be combined with other discount offers.  So say for example Wine.com offers 15% off 12 bottles.  You could then buy a bottle of 2008 Caymus for $50.99 shipped free.  And coming January 1st, 2011 to Massachusetts there's no tax on wine.  A bottle of Caymus shipped to your doorstep in Massachusetts for $50.99 fully loaded?  That's a pretty good deal.

Still, I'm not thrilled about having to read the fine print and fight so hard to get a good deal on wine. 

Click here to check out the deal on Groupon - ends Wednesday December 29th at 11:59 pm Pacific time. 

Bonus Reading: I wrote up some thoughts on a couple of interesting cashback/deal sites I recently discovered called Envaulted and Offermatic.  Good stuff - check it out.

Question of the Day: What do you think of group buying deals like this as they relate to wine?  How would you like to see retailers structuring these deals?

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