IN the fast-moving and highly competitive world of electronic “daily deals’’, Joe Brown (pictured) has almost reinvented the wheel.

His Voupons venture has enlisted dozens of businesses on the Gold Coast and offered hundreds of deals to potential customers in a new take on e-marketing and group buying.

The 34-year-old says Voupons is different from a string of other popular daily deal buying programs as it doesn’t take a cut of any merchant profits and is free for the shoppers.

“We have positioned ourselves as an alternative to some other daily deals,” says Brown.

“Shoppers only pay when they buy the product and businesses don’t have to hand over a percentage of their profits.’’

Brown concedes the daily deals market is crowded.

Well-known American-based operations like LivingSocial and Groupons churn millions of dollars of potential sales leads
each month.

But the industry also is weathering a backlash from some traders and patrons who have begun to question the effectiveness of some e-marketing campaigns promoted by some daily deal sites.

Billy Tucker, former CEO of Australian group buying website Cudo, recently warned businesses about the lack of control
in daily deals marketing.

He cited the example of a small Australian resort that signed up to a promotion deal and was overwhelmed when three million responses flooded in from around the world.

The resort was unable to honour the published offer to the majority of interested parties.

Brown, who has been working on his project for four years, insists the Voupons system is different and simple.

He says if customers looking on the Voupons website see a deal they like, they can request an SMS message be sent to their phone, which they take to the store to claim the deal. Businesses pay for the service by buying SMS credits.

Brown has also developed an iPhone application for Voupons that went live about three months ago. The system has gathered in excess of 600 downloads.

He is now working on an add-on that will activate a beeping noise on the phone if a customer walks within a certain radius of a Voupons-affiliated shop.

Brown wants to take Voupons Australiawide, but knows establishing a solid base on the Gold Coast is imperative before
expanding too fast.

“We want to focus on getting results for our customers here. Once we get those results we will look to expand,” he says.

Voupons client Leighton Breen from Govs Coffee in Miami says Voupons provided good value to his business.

“I looked at using the daily deals sites but I didn’t want to give away half my profit,” says Breen.

“I hear that there are so many deals and they don’t get much repeat businesses as the consumer just moved on to the next deal, with Voupons the clients pay me direct.

“This means I don’t need as many sales and make more profit.”

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