Aside from doing manual research about Groupon over the past week and a half, it seems like the company is doing its best to come to me. Every day when I open up my email, I get a new message from Groupon telling me what the latest deal of the day is in New York City. The letter is very helpful in determining if I want to vote on this deal or not. It tells me all about the company, its locations, and even gives me a few more deals with an urgency that lets me know I only have 1 day left to buy it (!!!). It got me thinking, are Groupon’s jam-packed-with-info messages just a reminder of which deals are available, or overcompensation for something else?It seems to me like Groupon is trying to combine the social benefits of Facebook with discounts at places that are already popular or are trying to expand their fanbases. The whole idea of a “group” discount sets it apart from other discounted sites such as LivingSocial which is more focused on rebates for individuals rather than groups. I want to focus on other sites that offer discounts to certain places and how they compare to Groupon.

Also, in class we briefly discussed “mob shopping” which is being referred to by some sources as Groupon’s predecessor. It originated in China and involves getting a group of people together to “team shop” or shop together to get retailers to drive down prices. It could be interesting to compare this to Groupon, where the deals are already set in stone, and it is up to the shoppers to decide if they want the deal or not.

To conduct my research, I want to continue monitoring the deals that Groupon offers, which become successful and which do not, and how other sites might compare to it. I want to conduct informal surveys to people who use Groupon or other similar sites to see what the appeal is and what they could change about it. Do the shoppers want more power, less, or are they satisfied by the deals that are offered? Could it be similar to Facebook by bringing people together online through common interests?

Or is it almost too good to be true? The Wall Street Journal is estimating it to make $1 billion in sales faster than any business ever, and there have been reports that most deals suggested by merchants are rejected by Groupon. Does Groupon hold too much power in providing these deals to the consumers? Could the company be tricking the consumer into thinking he or she has more power than they actually do, or is it actually a useful tool to promote new businesses, help people save money at places that interest them, and connect them with others who might be interested in the same things? I want to gain more of an insight into the company and people’s responses to it and welcome any kind of feedback in a certain direction to go that might produce more interesting results.

3 Responses to “Groupon – Facebook with Discounts?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Looking at Groupon now, in the wake of the Superbowl ads, is really interesting. Do you know if they’ve changed their emails or approach to consumers at all since the backlash of their commercials?

    But more related to your travelogue, I think all of your ideas are going in a great direction. Do you think it would be possible to get in contact with someone at Groupon to find out how exactly the negotiations work between Groupon and the companies giving the discounts? Maybe that isn’t relevant right now and is too much to tackle in the next week, but I think it would be interesting to look in to.

    Also–does Groupon have any apps on networking sites like Facebook? I’ve seen Living Social pop up in my newsfeed after people use a deal the same way Foursquare check ins work. Might be something to explore.

  2. Danielle Spano says:

    I feel like at this point with the limited amount of time we have left until the final travelogue is due, it might be best to focus your efforts on one particular thing. I really like your idea of focusing on discounts for groups as opposed to individuals. Some other areas to concentrate your research on could be the types of discounts that actually end up being offered. I don’t remember exactly how Groupon works because I signed up for it a while ago but then unsubscribed after I quickly tired of being bombarded by emails, but I know that enough people have to say they want the offer in order for it to be valid. So perhaps you could conduct a research on the categories of discounts that people most commonly vote for, such as beauty related discounts, restaurants, apparel, etc.

  3. mdeseriis says:

    Andrew, this draft looks more like a research proposal than the actual draft of a final travelogue. I hope that when you say that you want to conduct “informal surveys” and find out what shoppers think of Groupon, you mean that it is something you have already started doing, considering that the travelogue is due in one week. If that is the case, I would be curious to know how you contacted them, given that GroupOn is a centralized service that does not allow, to my knowledge, shoppers to contact one another.

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