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I’ve obviously taken my eye off the ball as I’d not actually noticed the way in which Groupon has changed its business model. Or at least a part of that business model.
I think we all know what that model was at first: collect and then run a vast email database to which a daily offer can be directed. The value to the offeror being the new business engendered and the value to Groupon being the cut of that payment that the consumers make. This did lead to interesting teething problems, it’s true. For example, Goupon’s interesting accounting treatments of some expenses. That has, of course, all been sorted out now. What they were doing was very useful as a management accounting technique but perhaps less useful as a method for outsiders to check financial performance.
But that’s not the only change that has occurred. Over and above that daily deal stuff they also now seem to be operating rather like a conventional coupon site. Offers are not available one day only, they stick on the site and one can sign up to them at any time. For example, here’s their offers on online groceries in the UK. Or last minute travel deals.
This has its advantages for us the consumers. Instead of having to deal with the incoming email we can instead just peruse the site when we’re thinking about buying something. It’s moved from being a method of encouraging us into extra purchases to a method of saving us money on ones we were always going to make. Can’t you just taste that consumer surplus?
We actually end up with something that, depending upon how good the offers are, might become part of the regular process of buying something. Obviously, we all, before buying anything online do have a quick look around for any coupons that there might be floating around. Groupon becomes another resource to help us find them.