Internet deals site Rupu founded in November 2010 is now no more, ending it’s six year run. Rupu was founded as a clone of the famous Groupon which shut down operations in several countries after it’s business model which at one point in time was the most upward looking, faced a plateau.
It was only a matter of time before Rupu also closed shop. Part of the challenges the daily deals model faced included the rise and rise of classified websites which dealt a blow to the deals business which was based on discovery. Rupu has changed business model at least twice alongside some deaths but this doesn’t seem to get them in the right position. And the pivot looks like a life-line.
There has also been an entry of mobile deals apps based off airtime recharge. Group buying and daily deals worked when ecommerce was at an nascent stage and people needed a reason to make purchases online. Now it’s mostly a no-brainer, and it wouldn’t make sense for vendors to pay the hefty fee on deals sites for discovery and hopefully sales after the deal. Something that classifieds sites are doing quite well.
In an email sent to site users today, the company announced that they will be ending daily deals in favour of a digital publishing model.
“Today marks the start of something new. Now, and over the weeks to come, we’re launching P Promos, dedicated to helping you find the best possible savings, not on a small list of products we deliver, but on everything you spend your money on: products, shops, malls, banks, insurance, phones, and lots more.
At the same time, we will no longer be selling products and service coupons online at rupu.co.ke. In future you’ll be able to take advantage of specials and deals directly at retailers. We will stop taking customer emails and telephone calls on Friday 27 January, and will only be able to answer questions about past deals, refunds or any other topic until then.”
According to former Rupu Managing Director Stacey Ondimu, the team now has a plan to focus less on an ecommerce and transactional model that was the mainstay of Rupu to digital publishing website. P Promos which is what the Rupu model pivots to will be embedded as part of a new news site on the plive.co.ke domain with focus on news, entertainment, lifestyle and sports. Ringier also plugs in content from Business Insider in a new arrangement with the US based news site.
As at now, the current team is being transitioned to serve the new purpose and in a near future you may hear words like workforce rationalization when those that don’t fit in the new model probably face the axe. Stacey Ondimu will now head operations at the new Plive website that also hosts the P Promos.
Along the content partnerships, Ghafla Kenya which sometime back had failed acquisition plans with Ringier will also be one of the news sites submitting content to the new platform. Ghafla was to be what Plive looks to be and it seems that Ringier was not willing to foot the bill to get the established entertainment and gossip site and chose to build their own.
The new model is pegged on popular news to push deals and promotions both online and offline as opposed to the fully online model that Rupu rode on.