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The concept isn’t new; Groupon and LivingSocial were there first. But what makes newly formed daily-deal site Boatsgo.com unique is its catering to the boating-and-boaters niche.
Created by Stephen Muvine, Boatsgo.com combines his eight years of yacht sales, his innate marketing sense and, for now, the South Florida boating community.
“In all the years I’ve spent in sales and marketing, I’ve never seen anything like Boatsgo,” Muvine said. “I know it appears similar to Groupon and LivingSocial, but those two offer daily deals to a wide spectrum while Boatsgo.com is focusing just on the boating niche.”
Muvine’s company offers deep discounts via vouchers that are redeemed at the time of purchase. Merchants control their bottom line by limiting the number of units offered.
Plans are to provide not just great deals, but plenty of information assisting pleasure boaters with everything from buying to maintaining to ways to better use and enjoy their boats, Muvine said.
“Unlike traditional advertising, there is no upfront cost to merchants; we absorb all the costs of putting the deals out there on the Internet,,” Muvine said. “But when a sale takes place, we take a small percentage.”
Boatsgo.com merchants can judge the success of using the site by being able to see how many subscribers there are and how many subscribers hit on their deals.
“The attraction to merchants is also that they get to put their money into discounting their goods and services rather than one-time advertising fees while getting market exposure for free,” Muvine said. “This lets merchants focus on building traffic and [growing customer bases] without wondering if their upfront advertising dollars are doing any good.”
While the emphasis of Boatsgo.com is its self-declared so-far-underserved niche, Muvine expects competition to follow.
The Web site is still under development.
“We are planning a soft launch sometime shortly after the [Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show], which we think is going to do good things for us,” Muvine said. “I think after the boat show, a lot of things will be clearer to us.”
While noncommittal, Laurie Fried, chief sustainability officer and director of community relations for California-based West Marine, said the niche concept of Boatsgo.com is interesting.
“We are looking into additional digital advertising opportunities for next year,” she said. “This type site would be evaluated as all of our marketing vehicles are evaluated. We look for opportunities where we’ll have the greatest return.”
Bob Howie is assistant chief pilot with Wing Aviation Charter Services in Houston, Texas. He spent 13 years as a writer with the Houston Chronicle, and is a lifelong boat owner. Comments on this story are welcome at email@example.com.