Adding a Twist to the Daily Deal

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With the advent of online shopping, countless retailers have capitalized on daily deals and flash sales, some even devoting their entire business model to the concept. It seemed (at least to this online shopper) that this concept was pretty simple and didn’t have much change on the horizon. But the latest twist on the daily deal, the Amazon Treasure Truck, has arrived. The Treasure Truck seems to be a clever combination of the ease of online shopping, the thrill of a flash sale, and the satisfaction (or maybe a little nostalgia?) of brick and mortar shopping. The Truck combines each of these experiences by traveling to different neighborhoods in the Seattle-area with a limited quantity of some highly sought after item. Customers can receive updates about the Treasure Truck’s current item through text messages, and then, if interested, must claim their item before it’s gone. But instead of quickly shipping items to customers (no Prime benefits here), customers must meet the Truck at one of its designated stops throughout the day to pick up their item. And the item must be picked up that day, because tomorrow, or whenever the Truck rolls out next, there will be a new item offered in a different neighborhood.

Unlike Amazon Go, which challenges the traditional concept of brick-and-mortar grocery-shopping by allowing customers to select their own groceries and then leave the store without ever having to wait in the checkout line (although it seems Amazon Go could now be called Amazon Stop), the Treasure Truck seems to be more of an exciting than convenient way for customers to nab the latest (random) deal, which has included everything from stand-up inflatable paddle boards to prime porterhouse steaks and lump crabmeat. Amazon’s Treasure Truck can only be experienced through Amazon’s app, but by integrating the Truck into its Mobile Shopping App, Amazon has continued to capitalize on its customers’ desire for a seamless shopping experience.

The Treasure Truck also seems to promote local businesses (and probably avoids parking tickets) by partnering with local business to use their outdoor lots as one of the Truck’s item pick-up locations. While the Treasure Truck concept has shown how the combination of these concepts can generate quite a bit of excitement, it has also demonstrated that adding a bit of star power to the mix doesn’t hurt either. In December former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch donned a bright orange Treasure Truck parka and blasted hip-hop music as he drove the Truck to a stop by CenturyLink Field to sell a Beast Mode-themed item of the day.

Any attempt to recreate the actual Treasure Truck however will require some originality as Amazon was issued a patent for the Truck’s design in January, which includes flashing lights, pop-out signage, and a marquee. (Apparently there is only room for so many ice cream trucks for grown-ups.) It seems however, that a patent cannot cover the seemingly simple concept of the Treasure Truck: exciting daily deals, online shopping, and a little brick and mortar fun. This leaves us wondering if other retailers will follow suit and add another kind of excitement to the limited time, limited quantity deal—or perhaps some other seemingly basic retail concept—in a another way?

Follow me on Twitter: @annelockner

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