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Groupon aims for bigger piece of mcommerce with streamlined payments

Groupon is simplifying the buying process on its mobile application with a new feature that leverages a mobile device’s built in-camera.

The daily deal site’s new iPhone app lets consumers save credit card information by directly scanning it. Groupon has been making a bigger play in mobile recently as the medium inches in on email as the primary way that the company generates sales.

“We’re always looking for new ways to enhance our mobile experience, which has proven to be very popular with our customers,” said Lily Gedney, spokeswoman at Groupon, Chicago.

“In fact, nearly 50 percent of our transactions occur on mobile devices and more than 50 million people worldwide have downloaded the Groupon mobile app,” she said.

“Innovation in this space is extremely important as our business has shifted from email to mobile. In Q2 2013, less than 40 percent of our North American transactions came from email, with mobile and search accounting for a greater percentage of our total business.”

Simple scanning
Groupon’s 2.8 version of its iPhone app leverages a mobile device’s built-in camera to speed up the payment process.

Consumers can see the new feature when they go to purchase an offer under the add payment method tab.

The app then pulls in a frame where consumers can line up their credit card information and automatically fill in parts of the billing information.

Since Groupon sales tend to be last-minute, streamlining the credit card entry process is critical in gaining consumer adoption for the app.

Groupon’s iPhone app has also been updated to include new navigation with the voucher screens.

Consumers can also save multiple shipping addresses via the revamped mobile app.

The app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

Mobile focus
Groupon’s original purpose as a daily deals service has changed over the years after consumers became overwhelmed by the volume of daily deals from companies including Groupon and LivingSocial.

As Groupon’s revenues increasingly shift towards mobile, the company has been working to improve the user experience on its app recently to win over consumers with features that drive repeat app use.

For example, Groupon acquired last-minute travel mobile application Blink to expand the functionality and footprint of its Groupon Getaways travel deals service (see story).

Additionally, Groupon significantly beefed up its mobile apps with a universal search feature (see story).

“Groupon is a natural fit for mobile because the platform fits right in with our mission to make it easy for people around the world to search and discover great businesses at unbeatable prices,” Ms. Gedney said.

“We think of local commerce in a broad context,” she said. “We think of it as a marketplace that has evolved by virtue of the fact that people are increasingly using mobile devices as a means of interacting with their local surroundings.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York