Townpoints bring new addition to local Groupon-like competition
With its navy blue and gray cityscape, the logo draws the eye inward. The pointed building in the middle is clearly the iconic Principal building of downtown Des Moines. What sort of secrets have yet to be uncovered in this city? Where is one to adventure in this city?
The logo labels the new local coupon site Townpoints. The new coupon service will launch in the near future, with an already announced deal from the eclectic Being There Coffee House in nearby Altoona.
Townpoints hopes to bring something new to the Des Moines market. Each discount will generally be 50 percent or higher off. Categories of discounts will range across the market, from restaurants to golf courses.
The system functions on a point system. Users can build up points from a number of activities to unlock even better deals. Those activities include referrals, points from businesses for reviews, Facebook likes and other creative interaction with a business and or brand.
Ben Cox, one of Townpoints’ founders, united creative forces with a strong three-person team. The crew of business and web oriented innovators came together to further develop the concept of “local commerce companies.”
“The idea started five to six months ago and grew. It was a child of a brainstorm session and we whittled it down to the basic concept,” Cox said. “We tossed around a number of ideas and looked at things from both the consumer and business perspective.”
Townpoints joins a crowded market of other couponing websites. Groupon is the most recognized as one of the largest of these sites. The 2008 start-up is now worth more than $1.3 billion and has expanded to the international market in Europe, South America, Singapore, Japan and Russia. The basic idea is to partner consumers with a business by offering a special deal to those who opt in.
For example, on March 29, Groupon offered a deal that for $50, the users would get a $50 eye exam and $150 toward eye wear at One Hour Optical in West Des Moines. LivingSocial.com offered $145 window and home washing service for Window Genie of Des Moines.
Cox explained how Townpoints is different than the national giants — more of a mutual win-win transaction. Instead of using local consumers’ money and then shipping it out to larger companies out of state, the Townpoints model keeps the money in the local economy.
“It’s all about getting people invested in a company and then spreading the word in a fun way,” Cox said. “The local business will also be able to offer deals and then be able to keep in contact with people involved.”
The customer is more important in the Townpoints model. They are given incentives to purchase points, like frequent flyer miles.
Townpoints will only be offering more deals. Click to townpoints.com to sign up for the service.
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