Groupon’s Pages lets merchants self-promote to mobile consumers
Groupon, striving to reinvent itself as more than a daily-deals engine, launched Groupon Pages, comprising seven million listings of merchant information and deals to engage customers who increasingly consume information on mobile from sources such as Facebook and Yelp.
Groupon Pages gives merchants their own space on groupon.com and lets them use it to highlight their businesses by adding promotional text, a Web site link, business hours, directions, photos and testimonials while highlighting promotions, special offers and coupons. The move complements Groupon’s mobile business, which accounts for more than half of its transactions worldwide.
“We want to be the first place that people think of when they’re looking for something to buy, do or see around them,” said Nicholas Halliwell, a spokesman for Chicago-based Groupon. “In order for that to happen, we have to provide a number of choices for every search in our marketplace.
“For example, there might be 10 sushi restaurants in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago,” he said. “We’re still going to show you the four places where we’re currently running a Groupon deal, but we’re also going to show you ratings, tips, money-saving opportunities and other useful information for the other six businesses.”
Groupon is attempting to recreate itself as more an ecommerce platform along the lines of Amazon as well as by building out its travel offerings. While mobile is playing a key role in the transformation, the transition is taking longer than expected to make an impact on the business.
Mobile is an important component of Pages because it is inherently local, meaning that people make many of the important decisions about where they go to buy, see or do something around them via their smartphone.
“We’re giving our customers a valuable resource to use in the palm of their hand to make more informed purchases and have better experiences at local businesses,” Mr. Halliwell said.
On the heels of Groupon Pages’ pilot program in Chicago, D.C., New York, San Francisco and Seattle, Groupon plans to continue to roll out Pages across the country until nearly every local business in the United States has a Groupon presence.
“We’re giving these businesses a free, transactable space via the Web and mobile to convey accurate information about their business as well as a place to put their current specials that they have on chalkboards in front of their business in front of millions of consumers who are already looking for something to buy on their phones and have a credit card on file with Groupon,” Mr. Halliwell said.
“Groupon has more than 200 million subscribers worldwide and nearly 92 million app downloads.”
For Groupon, Pages is a way to publish ratings and tips from customers to highlight the unique aspects of local businesses.
For merchants, the platform is a way to obtain real-time feedback on the quality of products and services. Groupon sends out a survey about a customer’s experience every time he or she redeems a deal or claims a merchant coupon or special.
Pages will also let merchants directly engage with customers who leave feedback to thank them for positive feedback or privately address negative feedback on the spot.
Besides offering a way to find contact information, directions, hours and checking out tips from past verified buyers, Pages lets customers follow a specific merchant to get updates about that business and be the first to know when the business has a great offer.
Customers can recommend a business and leave helpful tips for other customers.
In the weeks and months ahead, Groupon plans to include a premium version of Pages with connectivity to Groupon’s Gnome merchant tablet to allow for instant deal promotion, customer engagement tools and marketing analytics.
Groupon users can find Pages when they search for businesses on Groupon.com or in a Web or mobile browser.
“With Pages, we’re leveraging our vast knowledge and experience in local commerce to create transactional spaces for merchants where consumers can find amazing deals and make more informed purchases,” Mr. Halliwell said.
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.