Ever since groupon launched in November 2008 “discount” sites have sprung up here there and everywhere. Not surprising considering recession has hit the globe and everyone is looking for a way to continue the lifestyle they have become accustom too.
Groupon was an instant success with the unique concept of a deal a day which was “on” or not depending on the number of buyers. The discounts were big, or at least appeared to be and the site was slick. So it didn’t take long for Google to sit up, notice Groupon and slap a $6 billion offer on the table. Not bad for a site that had been in existence for 2 years.
When Groupon turned down Google it was as sure as the iPad2 selling out on launch day that Google would set about developing their own version of the discount site. This is to be called Google offers.
Google Offers BETA is starting in Portland, Oregon and punters can get 50% off or more at the “places” they love. Places being the operative word. Google have developed their Places feature integrated into their search and maps, to enable companies to offer discount.
The difference for google this time is the emphasis is not just on the company to set up the deals using an online form. This time to compete with Groupon Google will have to actively work with companies to set these deals up.
The daily-deal concept requires a large sales force, which talks to businesses, sets pricing strategies and plays a role in setting up the discounts. Groupon has 2,600 employees working in sales all of which are by now honed at setting up these deals.
Never one to be left behind now-a-days Facebook also feels it has a role to play in the let’s-get-money-off landscape.
Facebook are going to leverage their “check-ins” feature to enable Facebook deals.
My first reaction to Facebook entering this arena was here we go again. Can’t Facebook leave anything alone? But after a bit of thought, I actually think Facebook has the best model which has the ability to offer something a little unique.
Facebook deals will open up a more flexible discount system, where the likes of a local pub could offer discounts if you check-in yourself and 10 other friends. This boosts sales at local businesses, encourages people to get together to take advantage of the offer and means you can take advantage of the discount there and then. No waiting, noloo signg your voucher and no deal expiring.
I don’t think Google offers or Facebook deals will be the end of Groupon. Groupon has the head-start in this sector and its dedicated to offering the best discounts and that’s it. It’s not trying to be a jack of all trades, it’s just trying to be a master of one.
The size of both Google and Facebook mean they can set up devisions dedicated to their discount dealings. But what doesn’t change and will only get harder and harder as both these giants grow is the flexibility and ability to change and adapt to the market that a smaller company has.
I believe Facebook’s offering is more unique and will prove successful in the long term. But this doesn’t mean the death nail for Groupon as there is room for both. Facebook for the more spontaneous discount deals and Groupon for the more planned discount treats.
The one offering I can’t see coming out on top is Google offers. It wasn’t first to market and it’s just not unique enough.
Maybe you should have bid $8 billion for Groupon eh Google?