Getting your Groupon comes with more than bargains
Recently, the popular social-bargain-marketplace Groupon received a US$250-million investment from Comcast Cable, the largest cable provider in the United States. Though the specifics of what the money is to be used for were not revealed, Groupon CEO Rich Williams said the investment “will help accelerate our transformation while better positioning us to execute on our strategy and mission to build the daily habit in local commerce.”
What we can be sure of is the popular site now has a bigger budget with which to target consumers.
With the likelihood of more Groupon advertising on your social media feeds and cable channels, let’s take a closer look at the popular e-commerce marketing place that connects millions of subscribers (and likely many of your friends) with deals on travel, activities, goods and services.
Groupon launched in January 2008 and now operates in 28 countries. In late December 2015 it was offering over 650,000 deals to consumers online. Users sign up to the site, identify their preferred location and are then sent frequent emails with daily discounts on products and services tailored to preference. The deal can be purchased on the site and then the verification code can either be printed off or saved electronically. The platform is great for planning activities and getting introduced to local businesses.
“At first I was just interested in getting a deal because it was a deal, so a lot of what I bought was unused or wasted,” says Scott Armstrong, a 37-year-old father of two, “but then I started to get specific and found it worked better. I bought guitar lessons and sunglasses.”
Armstrong says that he uses the site primarily for personal purchases, rather than activities for his family.
His wife, Kathryn, says she used it once, but after signing up she finds the constant advertising annoying.
In fact, as she is speaking, a notification rings on her phone with today’s daily deal.
“We use it for activities like golf and for deals on restaurants,” Armstrong’s friend Chris Holt says. “I also bought three paintball extravaganzas that I’ll never use.”
He says that the deal isn’t the hard part, “the harder part is gathering people.”
While there are definite benefits to saving money, connecting with businesses in your community and discovering fun activities, there are a few things you should know when you sign up for a life of bargains.
The best thing to remember is to read the fine print. Many people who purchase deals find that there are restrictions on dates and times and stipulations around prior purchase time and local status. Make sure that close attention is paid to the inclusion of extra fees, subject-to-availability clauses and other restrictions.
Also keep in mind the other players involved in the purchase. Many retailers who are offering a 50-per-cent discount are only receiving a quarter of what was paid for the voucher, and so are most likely banking on the new business marketing opportunity.
With this in mind, own up to your couponing. Don’t enjoy the experience and then hand over the Groupon and bee line it to the door. By purchasing the goods or service at such a deal, own up to your end of the deal — tip your server, ask questions about the business and express gratitude.
And perhaps remember that the best value is to spread the wealth. Use the savings to connect more with friends and make more face time. “Face time is important” Holt says, “and I’m not talking about the app.”