We use social media as a performance medium and keep a close track on metrics like visits to site, conversion, unique and new customers driven to website through various social media initiatives”
What role does technology play in marketing? Groupon is a unique technology company that leverages technology and local market knowledge to give customers a great deal every single day. The great thing is that it works the same way across the globe from Chicago (where it all started) to Paris, Delhi or any of the 48 countries where we are present. One of the major reasons behind this is technology. We built one platform and replicated the same across 47 countries giving us a tremendous advantage while scaling operations to a global level. Beyond that we have centralized technology teams that help build one technology and leverage it across continents making it more agile and easy to deploy. We even have local teams that work on developing local enhancements and plug-ins that are unique to a market. One good example is that India is perhaps the only country in the Global Groupon Portfolio to have a COD (Cash on Delivery) option in the payment gateway. How have you leveraged IT to help Groupon India grow? Groupon India focuses a lot on merchants. We know that if we have the best quality merchants on the platform, the customers are bound to follow. As a result most of our focus right now is to ensure that we maximize the return for a merchant who is featuring with us. We have a merchant mobile app that allows merchants with multiple outlets to verify and book the customer redemptions quickly. We have a site called “The Groupon Merchant Center” to allow merchants to get feedback from customers and even know exactly how much money they are making on Groupon. All this comes for free and has helped us work with some of the biggest brands in the country including the likes of Radisson, Crowne Plaza, Hilton etc. How do you make technology decisions and investments? Technology decisions at Groupon happen at two levels — global and local. The major technologies are developed centrally. However, the local crack teams build applications that are unique to requirements of an individual country. One such example is local.groupon.co.in that is built to help people in India locate a deal closer to where they are. Can you give us a brief view of your digital media strategy including social media? How does the company engage itself with its customers using social media?
Digital media is where our biggest spends are focused. We focus mainly on performance-based advertising and hardly look at branding. Branding is left to other media including experiential marketing programs that help customers get a close interaction with the brand and people behind it. Even social media is not just an engagement medium that is used to manage customer grievances. We actually use it as a performance medium and keep a close track on the metrics like visits to site, conversion, unique and new customers driven to website through various social media initiatives. How do you see the role of IT in driving business for the organization and in transforming the organization? IT has helped us work with some of the biggest brands in the country. This has resulted in customers coming back to us in big numbers and Groupon becoming the number one deals company within a year of launching operations in India.