I seem to be having a lot of conversations about Groupon lately. Being the fastest growing company in history EVER according to Forbes does bring attention. The darling of social commerce, they are the natural convergence of ecommerce and social media, launched during arguably the worst global recession since the Great Depression. A haven for retailers and consumers, they extend the concept of finding great deals and prices online in a transparent digital world. But do they have staying power on their own?
They announced upcoming new services last week, the Deal Feed and Groupon stores, which moves them past a one dimensional ‘deal of the day’ only system. It is the right thing to do. But surely other already established big brands with millions of members, subscribers, customers or fans, can entice retailers for similar deals and launch their own service? And surely consumers will be happy to have several deal feeds in this extended period of austerity? Already the aggregators like Yipit are here to help and we are all accustomed to tapping into real time ‘feeds’ from our various networks whenever we choose, increasingly from our mobiles.
Shira Ovide of the WSJ believes that turning down the reported $6 billion offer from Google will prove to be the better path for them. But I’m not so sure. It’s still early days and I believe that someone, and possibly several, perhaps the ‘earth’s most customer centric company’, who in a mere 15 years rapidly grew past established giants, can innovate on this too?