Sign up to Groupon and they will email you an unbeatable deal every day. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, Groupon can guarantee huge discounts on the best things in your city.
For the customer – discounts!
For the business – free exposure to a huge potential new customer base and increased sales.
Why would a B2B company use this?
Groupon is traditionally quite consumer-focussed, but the potential into expand to the b2b arena is there. In the US this was tested in December 2010, when a consulting firm called Model Metrics offered a discount (from $2,500 to $600) on its data analysis service to attendees at a cloud computing event. The US site offers businesses the opportunity to register b2b services, but this is not yet available on the UK site (I have made an enquiry and will report back when I have an answer).
Whereas most marketing campaigns (i.e. newspaper, radio, and TV) require upfront payment without guaranteeing success, Groupon only takes a fee for successful campaigns. If the deal does not sell to a minimum number of customers, the email blast and the 24 hours of exposure on the Groupon website are still free of charge.
There are a number of videos on the Groupon Works site explaining how it works, and how to register as a business.
How specifically do you use it? What is required?
To buy the deal for yourself or as a gift, click “Buy Now” before the offer ends at midnight. If the minimum number of people signs up, you get the deal. If not enough people join, no one gets it (and you won’t be charged). When you buy a deal, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail with a link to sign in and print your voucher with redemption instructions and a map if necessary.
For businesses that want to get involved and offer deals, call (+44) 0203 510 2248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the drawbacks? What are the benefits?
For customers, it can help to be flexible when buying from Groupon. If you are buying an experience, Saturday and evening slots always get filled up quickly, so make sure you can make it before you get drawn in by the discounts. Groupon does offer a 7 day refund policy however.
For businesses, Groupon offers huge exposure. The deal of the day is seen by tens of thousands of email subscribers and website visitors. It is also a risk-free option, especially compared to traditional advertising. There are no upfront payments or long-term contracts, and Groupon only makes money if you, the business, make money. Groupon works by guaranteeing a minimum number of customers. If that number isn’t reached, you owe Groupon nothing.
According to the Groupon website, 95% of businesses were satisfied with their Groupon experience. 95% would use Groupon again and 96% would recommend Groupon to other businesses.
Once we have more of a precedent for B2B uses of Groupon I will be sure to blog about that.