GroupOn Evolving To Stay On Top

August 1, 2011 | Comments Off

It seems like just yesterday the group coupon mega site that started it all offered its first deal of the day. Back in October of 2008, GroupOn offered a half price special on pizza from the restaurant on the ground level of the building they were in. Nearly 3 years later, GroupOn is one of the fastest growing companies ever and saw revenue of $644.7 million in the first quarter of this year. Most of the news on GroupOn is positive however, as the group coupon site has found, with great success comes many, many, many copy-cats.

The surge in the amount of these daily deal sites has forced GroupOn to evolve more quickly than they ever anticipated. Foes such as; LivingSocial, SwarmJam, WagJag and many more have kept GroupOn on its toes and GroupOn hasn’t missed a step.

In the past few months, they’ve gone from offering one deal a day in each city for 24 hours to offering several deals a day in a city and extending the period the deal is available from 24 hours to 48 or even 72. They made a deal with the location based social networking service Foursquare, which now allows them to offer up to the hour deals on locations you may be walking by. They also made a deal with the online travel booking website Expedia to offer what they call “Getaways” to various resorts, hotels and cities outside of your province, state, and even country.

groupon expeida getaways

Many of these new additions seem to working very well in the cities they’re available in. Because GroupOn is expected to have the largest user base of all the daily deals sites, it allows them to try new things and be the trendsetter when it comes to group coupon sites rather than be the follower.

Even with major sites like Facebook, Google and Amazon starting up their own versions of daily deal sites, GroupOn has managed to stay on top. Their ability to evolve with the market and their willingness to try new things has kept them one of the fastest growing companies ever and has stock market analysts drooling over a possible IPO. Stay tuned!

I’ve gotten an email or two from friends lately asking me which group coupon sites are available in Windsor. If you recall, I wrote a post a few months back about how there were too many group coupon sites, now there are even more! Windsor Ontario isn’t even that big of a city, with a population of just over 200,000, it’s amazing that so many of these types of sites are even available for us. Here is a list of the most popular coupon sites in Windsor, along with a quick word or two about their updates and success.

GroupOn – The one that started it all. This was the first site of it’s kind to be available for Windsorites and is clearly the most popular. They’re so popular in fact, that they’ve sometimes strayed away from their “one deal a day” motto and added two or three at a time.

SwarmJam – This is the one connected to the Windsor Star website, along with all other newspaper sites under Post Media Inc. They update with a deal or two a day as well. What’s nice about SwarmJam is the deals are usually available for two or three days, not just one.

Kijiji Deals – I just noticed this one a couple weeks ago, but apparently it’s been available for awhile. They add a fresh deal on a daily basis and most of those deals seem to be for very small ticket items which cost less than $50.

WagJag – I’m not even sure if the WagJag deals for Windsor are even supposed to be for Windsorites. Most of their deals are big ticket items and most of the companies offering deals aren’t even based in Windsor.

DealTicker – Yet another “Windsor Deals” site where most of the offers seem to be online deals from other cities. The two deals available today are both from companies located in the United States.

LivingSocial – It seems like they’re going to have deals available in Windsor soon because their Google ads in the are are very targeted for us. As of this morning, they still haven’t had a deal in city.

DealFind – See above.

So there ya go! There are a total of 7 group coupon sites available in Windsor Ontario (sort of). My guess is we’ll see at least three or four more by the end of the year. I suggest you give them all a try and see which of them has the best daily deals for you! Good luck!

Small Business Coupon Site Success

March 6, 2011 | Comments Off

Chances are if you own a small business in Windsor Ontario you’ve heard of one of the three big group coupon sites that are offered to residents of this great city; GroupOn, WagJag and Swarm Jam. All three of these coupon sites have had huge success in the past year or so and many small businesses have gained clients using one of the 3 services. If you’re considering using one of these sites to promote your business, there are a few things to consider about which type of businesses have the most success on these sites.

I guess the first decision you have to make is which of the three sites you feel would work best for your business. As far as size, popularity and user base goes GroupOn is by far the best. They were the first group coupon site offered in Windsor and they have a huge lead when it comes to the amount of users they send daily coupon emails to. The one major problem with GroupOn as far as a small business goes is being accepted. I’ve hear from many businesses that unless they offer an incredible deal, they don’t get accepted. Another option is Swarm Jam which you’ve probably seen advertised on the Windsor Star site. What’s nice about Swarm Jam is it’s much easier to be listed and they offer more than one group coupon a day. I was on there earlier and they had four available today. While they’re user base may not be as large as GroupOn’s, they’re ads on the Windsor Star site are really helping their popularity. The last option is WagJag, however I feel they aren’t a really big player in the Windsor market just yet.

You may be asking yourself, “How do I know if my group coupon will be a success?” The truth is, the only way to really know is to try, but I’ve done a bit of research this past month and have found the following; restaurants, personal services (hair styling, manicure etc.), and practically anything regarding children (books, classes etc.) are very successful. On the other hand, some ads that don’t seem as successful are higher priced ads such as; tickets to major sporting events, getaways to non-local establishments and even memberships to gym classes.

I think group coupon sites are a great way for small businesses to get their name out there and gain a large amount of clients without having to go through the hassles of finding non-targeted advertising. If you have a small business you’re thinking about adding to a social coupon site, message me and I’ll be happy to give you my two cents on whether or not I think it will be successful.

GroupOn Superbowl Ads “Disliked”

February 7, 2011 | Comments Off

Social media sites Twitter and Facebook lit up on Sunday night as many people tweeted and wrote status updates about the Superbowl and its commercials. One particular group of ads seemed to infuriate more people than it entertained though and those ads came from group coupon site GroupOn. If you happened to miss the ads you can see them here. The ads, which feature famous celebrities Elizabeth Hurley and Cuba Gooding Jr have been called “tasteless” and “irresponsible” by many in the social media world because of their content. Each of the 3 commercials have the celebrities talking about serious issues such as; Tibet, Rain Forests and Whaling in a saddened state and then suddenly becoming happy when talking about the money they saved on GroupOn.

I myself posted this tweet the second I saw the ad about Tibet, “Aren’t the Tibetan ppl actually struggling? That GroupOn commercial was in really bad taste. Didn’t like it at all.” Many seemed to be feeling the same way on both Twitter and Facebook with many posts speaking about GroupOn in a very negative way. Even as I write this post I’m reading tweets like; “I wonder how people’s image of Groupon after the #superbowl will impact biz? Will people care enough to switch to other daily deal sites?” and “I don’t quite get Groupon’s sense of humor and how it ties in with these pro-social campaigns.” I’ve even seen people go as far as try to start the hashtag #dontgroupon. The ads have even received the worst rating on this Brand Bowl 2011 site.

I’m really not sure what they were thinking with these ads? If they wanted to get people talking, well done. If they were hoping to get more people to sign up to their social group coupon site, we’ll have to see if that happens. So far it seems like a $3 million mistake to me.

Too Many Group Coupon Sites?

January 30, 2011 | Comments Off

Anyone who has been paying attention to “what’s hot online” lately has undoubtedly heard of the new craze of group coupon sites. For those of you who haven’t heard of them they’re basically coupon sites that anyone can sign up to as long as you have an email address. These social coupon sites send daily deals to your email for up to 90% off of merchandise from stores in your community.

social group coupons

The catch is the deal doesn’t happen until a certain amount of people have purchased the deal. For example; on the largest and most talked about group coupon site Groupon the deal in my city of Windsor, Ontario today is $36 for Five Fresh Gourmet Meals from Great Foods Goddess, but the deal wasn’t “on” until at least 10 people purchased it which happened at 7 this morning.

These sites are incredibly successful so far. As I said earlier the most popular one is probably GroupOn, followed closely by Living Social, Wag Jag and a plethora of others that I probably haven’t even heard of. Why are there so many of these sites? They’re incredibly easy to clone and create and company after company is quickly trying to jump in. In fact, these sites are so successful that Google tried buying GroupOn late last year for over 6 billion and GroupOn turned them down. Now Google has decided to launch their own coupon site, but are they too late?

How many of these group coupon sites could one person really keep track of? I’m personally not currently signed up to any of them, but I couldn’t imagine getting emails from more than 3 or 4 of them and checking them on a daily basis. Eventually, I’d just get annoyed. It seems to me that being early in the game is the way to be successful in the coupon business. The earlier you started the more users you’ll have in your system. The more users you have in your system the more sales your merchants will get. The more sales your merchants get the more likely it is that they’ll come back.

In my opinion, the only way for new comers to get a footing in this business it to focus on cities and towns that the bigger sites haven’t gotten to yet. They better hurry though, my city has a population of just over 200,000 people and there are already group coupons available from GroupOn, Living Social, Wag Jag and Swarm Jam.

What do you think? How many group coupon sites are you signed up to? Do you think there are too many already? Will the new ones actually gain a market share? Comment and let me know!

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