Compression Stockings and Discounted Rent: All in a Day’s Shopping

The other day I saw a Groupon for two varicose-vein treatments and compression stockings. If it didn’t have an expiration date, I would have considered buying it. I know my family’s history with those unsightly things and it’s safe to say the future of my calves isn’t looking pretty.

Then there’s the Lasik deal I stayed up until 1 a.m. mulling over last month. While I ultimately decided that if there was ever a thing that shouldn’t involve a coupon, it was eye surgery, I did at least consider it.

Procedures that could render me blind notwithstanding, I scoop up deals pretty often on Groupon and LivingSocial—companies that offer discounts on products and services to their subscribers through e-mail.

This summer alone, I have deals for a horseback riding trip in the mountains, kayaking on the Potomac, the creation of two “photo memory books” and a month of boot camp with a former Army drill sergeant (mistake). As my friends and family are well aware, I’m pretty booked up until September.

While this “daily deal” Internet marketing strategy (known as social commerce) hasn’t yet taken hold widely in the apartment industry, apartment marketers at a recent conference session say the trend could be worth a try.

As Paul Bergeron reported in the article, “Crowds Flock to Online Deals!” in the June issue of units, the concept excited attendees at the 2011 AIM Conference in May who were looking for new and creative ways to attract prospective residents and gain market advantage. Attendees who may have purchased discounted kitty litter on a whim the week prior.

Greg Mazanec, LivingSocial Senior Director, Inside Sales, suggested that apartment owners or their communities consider sponsoring deals, such as attaching the phrase, “Brought to you by Rolling Hills Apartments” to a social commerce offer of $40 worth of dining at a nearby restaurant.

Apartment owners or communities also could try to provide a sense of value for renting at their community by making a deal exclusive only to their current, new or prospective residents, Mazanec said. Perhaps an offer to pay $50 for $100 worth of sclerotherapy will be included in my next resident e-newsletter.

Attendee Jamie Gorski, Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Bozzuto Group, said she avoids making rent rate-based deals through social commerce because steep concessions are not ideal for the industry. However, she will propose deals such as discounted parking rates for her residents. Last November her company sold about 130 monthly parking passes through Groupon in one weekend—a big success, in her mind.

Groupon and LivingSocial deals may not be appropriate for rental rates, but take it from someone who will one day present a paper coupon to the person in charge of correcting her sight—social commerce has an eager audience ready to pounce. It may be worth getting your feet wet.

For more on the role of social commerce in the apartment industry, check out the June issue of units, which mailed June 8.

If you have experience with social commerce marketing, e-mail me at lauren@naahq.org.