MerixStudio

Case Study:
How we built and made GoDealla.pl
leading discount search service in Poland?

The short story of our startup

Bringing your own startup idea to life is an outstanding experience. It’s like a journey through many fascinating business disciplines including topics such as sales, negotiations, usability, UX, technologies and many others.

Following case study outlines the process of building successful web application that shortly became leading Polish daily deal and vouchers aggregator.

Early stage goals

GoDealla™ brand was initiated as one of Merixstudio’s internal projects.

Here at Merixstudio we’ve worked with HSBC, The Independent, KLM, Virgin, M&S, Volkswagen and other creative agencies who don't have the development skills in house to help them bring their great ideas to life. We’ve decided it’s high time to bring our very own idea to life and build something truly useful for average visitor. We thought that running our own, well-recognized brand will help us build trust and make it more easy to sell our web design and coding services.

E-commerce pitch:
Poland is facing daily deal flood

Setting up a goal that are S.M.A.R.T. has a much greater chance of being accomplished. It was specific, ambitious and measurable enough. Our goal was grounded within one month time-frame. It was 2010 when group buying model emerged and took it successful form shaped by Groupon. The business model worked for us but we didn’t want to become yet-another-groupon-clone.

We’ve analyzed pros and cons and knew it was a matter of time when such websites start to proliferate across Polish market. We saw demand for aggregation service that will make it easy to browse and find deals that interest you most.

There were only two direct competitors but their branding and brand recognition was poor. We saw an empty space and knew we can build much better product.

Just to make it clear, we never intended to enter difficult and saturated group buying market and compete directly with Groupon. Our idea was to partner with recognizable daily deal providers and the ground of our business model is strictly connected with affiliate marketing. We knew we can relatively easy build up added value by creating outstanding User Experience, engaging Interface and creative marketing campaigns.

Strategy

To leverage our core skills (design, coding and programming) was the priority. Our business model was very close to the one known on price comparison sites. You create your competitive advantage with UX, look & feel and usability rather than investment in sales team or content creation.

Initially we scrapped the content directly from deal provider sites (via HTML or RSS), but later on, when our market position grew, we’ve formalized our partnerships and signed necessary agreements. Our product is nothing else but a complex web application with massive database, loads of advanced filtering, sorting and categorization options and powerful search feature.

The Team

The Design

When brainstoriming different ideas we got somehow inspired by the cult movie Godzilla (first one was released in 1954!). We loved the giant monster and knew it has creative potential to become our brand hero. The name GoDealla™ has its origins from the words “Godzilla” and the “Deal” . Once you grasp it you can’t forget it – and that was the point! What’s more, our core target group is English speaking audience so they were likely to remember well.

Character design
(brand hero)

When inventing the brand name we wanted to avoid „group-alike” sounding name. With hundreds of cliché sounding names we had to stand out and make sure people will remember us. The mascot and the original name helped us differ from regular group buying sites and other competitors.

Local extensions of the brand hero

Sketches. Wireframes. Final design.

  • Sketches. Piece of paper, black pen and head full of creative ideas – this is how we initiate the project.

  • Wireframes. Clickable HTML prototype is being created thanks to Axure RP tool.

  • Final design. We love little design details but value simplicity and clean, usable interfaces most.

Interaction design & UX

Interface elements

Various UI components (such us modal windows, preloaders, error messages) improved application’s browsing experience.

Good design is about visual communication and sending clear message. We’ve played with buttons’ colors, size, alignment and contrast to achieve well-balanced visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchies let us lead users to take the action confidently.

  • Wprowadź poprawny adres e-mail

  • Email z linkiem aktywacyjnym został wysłany. Sprawdź pocztę!

Back-end

The key criteria behind choosing back-end engine was speed and scalability. We had to be able to easily extend app with new features and react immediately.

DJANGO

We’ve picked Django, a very fast Python framework. Django is a perfect tool when it comes to advanced web applications development, where the biggest impact is set on quality, efficiency, development speed and ease of code maintenance.

Django applications can handle high traffic boosts (even 1 million page views per hour)

Product feed

To be able to collect thousands of coupons coming from hundreds of sources we had to ensure that the process of adding vouchers is standardized and stable. Coupons are delivered to our database through XML and/or JSON product feeds. Every day we add far more than 600 new coupons.

Google Maps

Every new collected voucher is delivered together with its geographical coordinates. That let us automatically display deals on the Google map. Finding deals via Map interface is especially convenient when it comes to travel and tourist offers. Travel discounts are also categorized by destination and length of stay (weekend escapes for example).

Mobile website

Soon after launch (August, 2011), we’ve developed a dedicated mobile version of GoDealla. Mobile site has limited functionality and provide core, most desired options such as: search feature, filtering and sorting.

Stats

PR & Marketing

How we grew email subscribers base and improved open-rates?

Higher Open-rate

  • Dynamic email titles
  • Purging email list improved deliverability
  • Reducing SPAM trigger words to minimum
  • Monitoring email deliverability
  • Reassuring good sender reputation and direct contact with popular email account providers

New subscription rates

  • Pop-up window encouraging to subscribe (triggered with 30s delay and only twice)
  • Landing page optimization (especially archived deals who were accessible from Google search results)
  • Contextually placed banners on inner pages encouraging to subscribe
  • Optimization of the “unscubscribe landing page"

Higher CTR

  • Manipulating of deals list view
  • Introducing short, easy to read titles
  • Larger, more engaging and high quality coupon photos
  • +23% Higher
    Open-rate
  • +36% Subscription
    rates
  • +17% Higher
    CTR

INFOGRAPHICS

Colorful and „eye candy” infographics helped us to attract the attention of journalists and potential customers. Attractive graphics and hand-made illustrations made our press release notes stand out from the crowd.

Nowadays use of various visualization tools is very popular and nothing special. It wasn’t that popular in 2010 though.

Another way to stand out was pinch of humor and little bit of controversy. This has resulted in many publications in the media dealing with lighter subjects (there was actually our target). To strengthen our Public Relation activities we didn’t avoid describing negative industry events (such us suspending new portals or group buying pitfalls: “Top 10 most deceiving deals”).

Publications. Reports. Stats.

It was valuable market reports and group buying websites’ in-depth analysis that brought us greatest media coverage. Thanks to collecting substantial amount of data we managed to draw interesting conclusions that quickly arouse interest within media.

95% of surveyed consumers say they have recommended the product or service at least once.

Increasing number of Visitors

Video Blog

We set up the project called GoDealla.tv, that was the first Polish online video television entirely dedicated to group buying market. Short animated intro has been created that preceded each video material.

We have interviewed our partners to show people how is it like to work for “groupon”. Our goal was to educate Polish entrepreneurs at the same time.

Social Media. Mems. Facebook app.

Our publishers interested in displaying coupons could join us through Facebook and earn by recommending deals on their Facebook timeline for example. We created Facebook application where users signed up to get their individual IDs.

We’ve tried different buzz marketing methods including generating „mems”. The one with famous Polish model Natalia Siwiec turned out to be very successful Social Media viral campaign.

Seo

Around 40% of our traffic comes from search engines such as Google. Average time spent on site is about 6 minutes. We had to make sure site code and content is fully SEO optimized to be able to get top rankings in SERPs. Optimization efforts included unique content preparation (Page titles, Meta data), keyword analysis and saturation, friendly URLs, blog etc.)

Being ranked at top positions in Google caused extra traffic boosts when popular TV talked about group buying market in Poland. People immediately started to type in “daily deals” and found us.

RESULTS

Despite the fact we were not the first deal aggregator we shortly become a market leader (considering UV and Revenues).

Statistics

Awards & Recognition

GoDealla is the first among coupon search apps that was included in market research and statistics conducted by Megapanel. Thanks to Gemius, monthly traffic reports are available to public and anyone can learn how popular our service is.

In August 2011, we’ve been awarded by PC Format, popular internet magazine, for the best quality service.

Our startup, GoDealla, has been shortlisted as one of the 50 Most Creative Businesses in 2013(by Brief magazine)