Seeking a Slice of the Online Shopping Pie
Whether a midnight madness deal at a local mall, an all you can eat buffet special or a simple seasonal markdown, Indonesians love a good bargain.
“Some people won’t even go shopping if there isn’t a discount or a sale,” 24-year old Web entrepreneur Ferry Tenka said.
Ferry and his business partner, Jason Lamuda, view this low price love affair as an opportunity.
They are the two Internet entrepreneurs behind Disdus.com, a Web site that they hope will cater to the local craving for cut-rate deals by offering exclusive discount coupons of up to 50 percent on goods and services from participating vendors.
The Web site’s founders plan to work with local businesses to come up with steep discounts and then pass them on to shoppers through Disdus.com.
To date, they have an agreement with 10 local businesses, but they have their sights set on hundreds more.
Once registered, users are free to browse the site looking for deals.
If they see one they like, all they have to do is click the “buy” button to purchase a coupon.
Payment for the coupon is transferred automatically when the transaction is completed and a coupon in the form of an e-voucher is sent to customers via e-mail after their transaction is verified.
Each member can buy up to five coupons at a time and the e-vouchers remain valid for two months.
Coupons can be printed out and redeemed at any time by simply taking them to the checkout counter of the brick-and-mortar business for which it was issued.
“The payment system here is still a bit primitive, that’s why we keep an offer up for at least four days,” said Jason.
After they click the “buy” button, members receive a payment code. This code is actually a service charge that Disdus.com receives for each transaction.
“For example, your payment code is “13” and the coupon is 10,000 rupiah ($1), you have to transfer 10,013 rupiah,” Ferry said, adding that the extra 13 rupiah is the profit Disdus makes on the transaction.
Jason admitted that the idea is not new.
Similar Web sites such as Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com in the United States, Voucherwow.com in Singapore, Mydala.com in India, and Mycitydeal.co.uk in European cities have been up and running for some time now.
“There are even hundreds of them in China,” Jason said.
However, Jason and Ferry have yet to find an Internet enterprise offering a similar service in Indonesia.
Despite the success of this type of Web site in other countries, there are challenges unique to the local market.
Ferry explained that the idea is still new to most local vendors and some have proven wary of the concept, reluctant to offer such big discounts in exchange for a piece of the online shopping pie.
“Some don’t even take Internet online marketing seriously, they doubt this method is an effective way to get buyers,” Ferry said.
Challenges aside, the two Internet entrepreneurs remain optimistic that the concept will catch on in time. For now their challenge is convincing vendors that the concept is a good way to promote their businesses.
Jason and Ferry believe that, on this front, their biggest weapon is the power of word-of-mouth marketing that will occur as users tell their friends about the incredible deals they are finding at Disdus.com.
Apparently, the only thing that locals like more than finding a good discount is bragging about it to their friends.
“In addition to loving discounts, Indonesian like to hang out in groups. If people find great discounts on our Web site you can bet they will tell their friends about them,” said Jason.
Aldy, a representative of the Birdcage restaurant, thinks the concept is interesting.
“I think it’s unique and I believe many people will give it a try,” Aldy said.
Birdcage recently signed on as one of the vendors offering discount coupons on Disdus.com.
They have already agreed to offer two types of discounts — the first being a 50 percent off coupon on food and beverages and the second, a promotional package for breaking fast during the Ramadan celebration.
Ferry said that the name Disdus doesn’t have a specific meaning.
“The ‘dis’ is for discount, we just thought the name was catchy and easy to remember,” he said.
It might not have a literal meaning, but you can bet the two entrepreneurs hope that — among the legions of local discount hunters — the real meaning of the name Disdus becomes synonymous with bargain-basement prices.
The Disdus.com Web site will be launched tomorrow.