As consumers, we are always looking for new ways to make the most out of our money. Besides scouring the Internet for new deals or looking for cashback options, shoppers can choose to join group buying communities for even more savings.
Group buys are consolidated community purchases of items such as groceries, electronics, or even furniture. The top benefit of group buying is definitely savings, as consumers can get these items below retail price.
With the rise of social media, group buy groups have since thronged social media platforms such as Telegram, Facebook and Instagram. The trend has been further propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen Singaporeans utilising delivery services and shopping online more frequently.
According to a report by The Straits Times, at least 50 estate group buys have sprung up islandwide during and after the circuit breaker period.
In fact, one particular group buying community for the Sengkang area — Sengkang Group Buy — has gotten so popular that all its WhatsApp groups are full, and new members can only be added in when there is an available slot.
Although the circuit breaker period is well over, the practice of group buying has stuck and even big brands such as Courts and Shopee have started their own group buying initiatives.
Here’s a look at how Singaporeans can take part in group buying and get the best bang for the buck.
How Group Buying Works
There are many group buying communities in Singapore, and each is likely to have its own methods of carrying out the group buying process.
However, the instructions are not difficult to follow and does not differ too much from one group to another.
Generally, the host of the group buy will take in orders from interested parties, and are also in charge of the delivery process. They also have to ensure that the minimum order, if any, is met.
On the other hand, all buyers have to do is follow the instructions set out by the host, and then wait to collect their items.
One example of a large group buying community is Fresh SG. Fresh SG specialises in fruits and vegetables, and has over 50 estate groups and private groups on WhatsApp.
According to Fresh SG, buyers simply have to join the dedicated WhatsApp group for their estate, before placing orders via order forms sent out by the estate hosts. They will then collect their orders from the host’s home after paying via bank transfer.
Another example is social e-commerce startup WEBUY, which launched in September 2019.
Eyeing a gap between traditional suppliers and the modern consumer, the platform gives both merchants and consumers an opportunity to source for and provide novel F&B items, while also helping SMEs across Asia expand their business opportunities.
WEBUY co-founder and CEO Vincent Xue told Vulcan Post in a separate interview that they had successfully sold 4,000 cans of abalones in four hours.
Social e-commerce is driven by social interactions among friends and family, and WEBUY also makes use of social media groups and chats to reach out to buyers.
Even traditional retail stores are hopping onto the group buying bandwagon. For example, furniture brand COURTS occasionally hosts group buying promotions.
Last September, it held a sale for new homeowners, with better deals for those who purchased as a group.
Where Can I Find Group Buy Deals?
Group buy deals are aplenty, and a quick Google search reveals a long list of group buy communities. There are also many types of group buy communities available.
For example, there are chat groups for specific products that are not limited to a particular estate or area. This includes a WhatsApp group for the famous Telok Ayer Teochew Fish Soup, artificial grass, and even Nuyolk eggs.
Many also purchase their groceries via group buy chats.
Treedots is a food supplies redistributor aimed at reducing food waste, and has organised group buys in various areas in Singapore. Buyers can choose from a wide range of products such as barramundi collar, salmon, and beef tongue.
Another popular group buy is Singapore Home Cooks, which hosts themed group buys such as “Japan Air Flown Night” via Facebook Live.
More recently, e-commerce giant Shopee also launched a group buy option.
Shoppers can create or join existing groups for their desired products. Group owners then have 12 hours or till the promotion ends to complete the group and enjoy lower prices.
How Much Can I Save?
Group buying is akin to purchasing in bulk, which allows sellers to offer discounts. This is also a key reason for the rise in popularity of group buying.
We took to various group buy chats to determine how much cost savings one can incur if they participate in group buying.
A Yummi House honey group buy in a Telegram group for Sengkang and Punggol offered gift sets for almost half of the retail price. According to the order form, a set which consisted of 600 grams of honey, a wooden spoon and three batik masks was going for S$65, which is a significant discount from its retail price of S$121.70.
In the same group, a group buy for foodservice e-commerce site Angliss saw a packet of 21 Black Forest Swiss rolls going for S$8.90, which translates to savings of around S$4.
Besides cost savings, buyers are also guaranteed convenience as the pickup locations are likely to be within their neighbourhood. Sometimes, there is also the option to get the products delivered straight to their doorsteps.
Group Buying Is Here To Stay
Besides convenience and cost savings, group buys also help to build and foster a sense of friendship and camaraderie, bringing back the ‘kampung spirit’.
According to Dr Tan Ern Ser, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, these regular interactions between neighbours help to “form social ties and a social network within the estate.”
Indeed, in many of the group buy communities, members were seen giving food recommendations, or advice on home renovation works.
With society getting more fast-paced and people getting more detached, group buying can offer a new way to reconnect with their neighbours.
Furthermore, many have grown accustomed to group purchases, which have replaced trips to the supermarket and spending hours queuing for the next food fad.
Featured Image Credit: Sengkang Group Buy