Vuvuplaza – who, what and when?
Founded in 2012, Vuvuplaza is a South African group buying website that is allied with the “Independent Newspapers” to offer daily deals offline as well as on the internet. Vuvuplaza follows a fairly common business model: it offers one main deal each day, which only becomes live once a given number of people have signed up to it. If you are interested in the deal, you enter your credit card details (or make an EFT payment), and will receive a coupon by email for the deal you chose (as soon as it goes live). If not enough people sign up within 24 hours, then the deal is cancelled and you are not charged anything. Each of their main deals is available for 24 hours, or until stocks run out, although they do frequently re-offer deals that were particularly popular, and their more numerous side-deals usually run for 4-10 days.
The Vuvuplaza Deals
Vuvuplaza offers local deals for Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria, as well as a rather eclectic range of national deals. The local deals are mostly for restaurants, but also for cultural stuff such as concert tickets and experiences (such as hot air balloons, paintball, go-carting) as well.
Vuvuplaza’s national deals are mostly gadgets and gifts, covering a nice range of ages and interests. Today, the national deals included a foot warmer, a sushi maker, and golf ball finder glasses. As well as their local deals, Vuvuplaza also has separate sections for fashion deals and fathers’ day deals, making it easy to find items in those categories, and saving space on the other pages. They also have sections for travel deals and kids’ deals, which has some cute and fun items. Somewhat bizarrely, Vuvuplaza offers a coffee deals section, which seems rather unusual and unnecessary. Vuvuplaza also has a ‘crazy deals’ section offering an eclectic mix of gadgets and useful items which are supposedly drastically reduced. However, for most of these items the original price is not given, making it hard to know for sure just how reduced they really are and one would need to check before or compare with other daily deal aggregator websites such as Dealafrica.
The Vuvuplaza Service
Vuvuplaza trumpets (pun intended) its great service as being what sets them apart from other group-buying websites. The first thing that you notice on their website is a roll-down box showcasing glowing (if rather suspiciously over-the-top) testimonials to their speed of delivery. It is claimed that they will deliver an item within 24 hours of placing your order, and the small number of complaints on hellopeter regarding late delivery or failed delivery seems to bear this out. They also promise that if a business which is supposed to provide you with goods or a service lets you down for any reason, they’ll make sure to refund your money. Vuvuplaza’s complaint rating on hellopeter is noticeably low for the group buying industry with just 49 complaints in the last 12 months – giving them a very good customer service record.
The Vuvuplaza Website
Unfortunately, Vuvuplaza’s weak point is in its website, which falls prey to the problem which dogs every daily deals website of ending up with an overly-busy home page that resembles a market-trader’s stand. The layout is not attractive, the jewellery section looks trashy and clichéd, and there is a floating ‘online chat help’ widget on the home page which obstructs some of the categories that you might wish to click on. Crucially, you can only view the amount of time and units remaining for each item by clicking on the individual deal, which is awkward and time-consuming. It is also a real drawback that while Vuvuplaza shows the price of every deal, less than half of all the offers tell you the amount saved or the previous price, requiring you to do some speedy and time-consuming on-line research if you do not want to just trust them when they tell you you’re buying the best deal around.
In brief, Vuvuplaza is a reasonable, if not particularly memorable, group-buying website. According to hellopeter they seem to carry through on their promises and deliver on time (mostly). Now, if they could only add the information consumers need about each deal, such as original price and how much we are saving (things which are vital to making an informed consumer choice) they would be a step up. The lack of these things, leads to the conclusion that Vuvuplaza’s owners are either absent-minded regarding this or that the “sale” prices just aren’t as good as they are set out to be. Lastly, a few minor, but important, changes need to be made to the website design in order to improve the user experience.
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