A little over a year and a half ago on these very pages, we pondered the power and appeal of Groupon. At that time, Groupon was a well-timed social and marketing stroke of genius which seemed to simultaneously tap into our collective broke-assedness and our love of bragging about saving money. We had a feeling it was here to stay and didn’t really bat an eye when the stampede of LivingSocials, DailyDeals and the like swarmed the Internet. It appears there is enough room for all of them as we are a nation hooked on saving big. We’re so addicted to Groupon and all of its money-saving clones that we’re sure some Janice Dickinson type will enter Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab next season for online deal dependency.
Yet those of us in the marketing and digital branding universe wonder if shoppers actually return after the deal is done, if Groupon actually helps or hurts a brand’s image and if the days of denying our clients’ requests to come up with a daily deal marketing strategy are officially over?
Consider this: A recent Harris poll found that 68 percent of daily deal site users reported using the websites for impulse rather than planned purchases. Translation? They weren’t planning on going to the Olive Garden ever again but, what the hell, they got a Groupon for it! But another study from Rice University found that only one in five Groupon users return to the business they purchased the deal for. So, no, chances are people won’t return to your business after the Groupon glitter fades.
Most brands aren’t too worried about this, though. For new businesses and companies that have seen better days, being part of Groupon means being part of one of the most read and beloved email marketing campaigns on the planet. There’s a cache of being part of the daily deal scene which most brands find hard to resist. But this doesn’t mean marketers should pimp all of their clients to Groupon just yet. Many big brands are coming up with their own daily deals advertised on Facebook and their own web pages, meaning forking over profits to a deal service may be unnecessary.
In the end, though, our addiction to Groupon is going nowhere. We’ll continue to chase down deals on bungee jumping and vegan crepes into the gates of consumerism hell as long as companies keep feeding our need.