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GrouponSM filling financial gaps for patients
With the economy slowly recovering and the Canadian unemployment rate hovering around 7.6%, it comes as no surprise that consumers are hunting for deals. With unemployment numbers still so high, many Canadians are currently without benefits plans that include health care services beyond those covered by health care, such as vision and dental care. The burgeoning social buying industry has created a way for strapped consumers to fill the void. Many are turning to Groupon, Wag Jag and other daily deal sites to make their extra health care costs more manageable.How it works
Businesses offer deep discounts—up to 90 percent off—on products and services. Customers purchase the “deal” through the site and redeem it with the business. For example, Wag Jag Grocery recently featured a deal from Wild Goose in which customers paid $12 for $25 worth of products. Though it may initially be a net revenue loss for the company, they get to introduce many new customers to their offerings.

Health care companies are jumping on board. Nationwide, nearly 10 percent of deals offered online are for health care services.

  • Dental services make up a big part of the daily deal market. For instance, a clinic in Toronto offered an Invisalign exam, x-rays and complete records for $49, 86 percent off the regular price, on Groupon recently. Meanwhile, Wag Jag Vancouver featured 91 percent off an at-home teeth-whitening kit with free shipping from True White Whitening. These offers, and those similar to them, could easily be accompanied by a promotional bag or case of mints/tooth picks for new customers.
  • Health care providers offering services that aren’t covered by health care can particularly benefit from offering online deals. A vision clinic in Toronto offered a 67 percent discount on Lasik eye surgery through Groupon and brought in young customers with nominal disposable income, but had lots of friends to refer. To secure a longtime conversion of sales, this offer could include a stylish eyeglass holder to seal the deal!
  • Alternative medicine providers such as acupuncture, Reiki and hypnosis practitioners may find online deals a great way to reach potential clients. MyDealBag.com recently featured a $74 private acupuncture treatment for $35. Customers who find their discomfort relieved by the treatment will surely return. A stress ball might help them in between treatments.
  • Cosmetic services, rarely covered by insurance, are nevertheless extremely popular. Many health-related online deals offered inexpensive ways for customers to look and feel better. A recent Groupon deal offered a 63 percent discount on wrinkle-correcting treatments. Keep their skin looking good with a water bottle to promote proper hydration

Daily deal services are still proliferating at a dizzying rate. Most of the sites are localized by postal code, ensuring that your discount deal is being marketed to people who live in your area. And the deep discounts allow businesses to offer low-cost health care to people who need a break while building relationships with new customers. Win-win!

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