Many of our readers’ favorite coupons from their local Community Impact Newspaper print edition are now available online—along with new coupons from businesses across other nearby Community Impact Newspaper editions—all in one place and at their fingertips. The newly launched CI Deals site is easy and free to access and redeem deals, and the best part of the product is that 100% of the dollars spent with the local business stays with the local business.
CI Deals is a mobile-friendly web application that adjusts to the user’s location to find deals from local businesses wanting to stay connected to their community. Anyone in the area can access the site and browse by category and savings they want across our five greater metropolitan areas in Central Texas, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix and Nashville.
At this point, you may be wondering why Community Impact Newspaper is investing in a new platform during the middle of a pandemic. Our innovation stems from experience back in 2008, when Community Impact Newspaper was just 3 years old. At that time, there was a new service aimed at helping local businesses stay afloat during the Great Recession that sold deals to consumers at a steep discount. The idea was to get a large “group” of people to participate in a deal so that the deal would turn “on,” and everyone would win.
Discounting can be an effective way to drive interest and sales, but some observers called this group buying strategy dangerous for local businesses. The problem was the structure: the local business would have to offer a huge discount and then split the revenue with the platform. The platform would win, but many local businesses were on the hook for providing their services for 50%-90% of the revenue they would normally receive because of the split and the discount.
Fast forward to 2020, and the year of the pandemic has brought another type of platform to help local businesses: delivery apps.
When cities went into lockdown this spring, delivery app popularity grew as an option to support local restaurants and get some good food remotely. But the convenience of the delivery platform is in many cases very costly for the local business owner, and not just in the sense of dollars. Restaurants have been a major customer of ours since our launch in 2005. We went to work to build a digital platform that would help our customers build demand and let our readers win with good discounts.
Community Impact Newspaper has heard from our restaurant owners over the years, and especially recently, that they often have to share 50% or more of the revenue with these delivery platforms. In addition, owners are hearing from their diners that prices, quality, timing and customer service are varying from the norm. To move forward and stay afloat, restaurants are strategizing for a healthy mix of delivery and pickup sales, and that’s where Community Impact Newspaper decided to innovate.
This pandemic has demonstrated to us all that we need to support our communities and each other. Community Impact’s desire for this new site is to help local businesses thrive. We started with local restaurants and will add retail, home and garden, and other categories in the next few months. We appreciate your feedback and hope this service helps our readers and advertisers connect during these difficult times. Check out the deals near you at communityimpact.com/deals.