Groupon Launches Rewards Program, Gives Businesses More Control

Groupon Rewards Program

Groupon Rewards ProgramGroupon on Wednesday rolled out Groupon Rewards, a new program that allows businesses to provide extra incentives to Groupon users who spend a certain amount of money with their company.

Integrated with Point of Sale systems the program allows businesses to offer special incentives as users pass varying thresholds, those incentives then become available as special Groupon offers.

In a blog post Groupon says of the system:

“Consumers earn rewards at participating merchants simply by paying with the credit or debit card they have on file at,” while adding, “After spending an amount set by the merchant, the consumer unlocks the ability to purchase a special Groupon for that business.” [Read more…]

Will selling through Ensogo and other social buying sites damage your brand?

Ensogo. Great for bargain hunters, but how about merchants?

Ensogo. Great for bargain hunters, but how about merchants?

I’ve been receiving pretty good offers from Ensogo over the past few weeks now and I am surprised by the amazingly low prices they have.  Almost every single thing is marked down or discounted by at least 50 percent and the quality of the stuff they are offering  seems pretty good.

Ensogo, like Groupon, is a social buying site and was recently acquired by LivingSocial, one of the major Groupon competitors.

In their e-mail to me today, two things interested me immediately: an offer for a Php600 (about US $ 15.00) Berting’s Grill gift certificate discounted at P300 (about US $ 7.50) and a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Boracay Terraces Hotel going for P7,700 (about US $180) when it would normally cost twice that much.

And, having just opened up a bank account that links up with PayPal (but you can also pay via ATM Peso Pay or bank transfer), I might just buy that gift certificate from Berting’s Grill and use it to buy several orders of their fabulous barbecued chicken ass and liempo or pork ribs.  As for Boracay Terraces Hotel, well, it’s something that I really got to discuss with my wife first — but it looks like a pretty good buy.

All in all, it’s almost a revolutionary site for bargain hunters like me but it may not be all that amazing for merchants who get into social buying sites expecting “magic” to happen.  A long time acquaintance who sells organic food online clued me in on a couple of caveats and cited a couple of reasons why he isn’t a fan of Ensogo — at least, not yet. [Read more…]

Facebook Deals: The Social Advantage Is Huge

Facebook Deals Winning

Facebook Deals Winning

Facebook Deals launched on April 25 and already the limited city release is proving to be a positive venture for the world’s largest social networking website.

On its face there is very little different between Facebook Deals and competitors that include Groupon, LivingSocial and Google Offers, they all offer vast discounts on various deals, sometimes more than 50% off certain offers, however the way in which the site is attracting businesses, site members, even musicians could very well give Facebook a leg up on the competition.

Let’s start with the cost of entry. Facebook at this time is not charging businesses to advertise their products, instead businesses are encouraged to purchase ad units to target customers in their demographic. If you have ever used the Facebook advertising system you know that you can choose to target members by age, city and other demographic information which means you won’t be wasting time selling dentures to an 18 year old male outside of your cities advertising scope.

Second, Facebook Deals is sharing deals through emails and user profiles (specifically through the Newsfeed), adding a social element that their competitors can not possibly match. For example John Doe buys a new Hurley t-shirt, that t-shirt which was discounted by 50% is then shown in their friends newsfeeds and more than likely at least some of their friends share the same interest in clothing as them, perhaps they have a lot of skateboarding friends for example. It’s this element of social sharing that Groupon and other social buying sites lack. [Read more…]

Facebook Deals Launching Tonight In United States

Facebook Logo

Facebook Logo A leaked embargo notice posted by the New York Times and picked up by TechCrunch is claiming that Facebook Deals is in the process of launching in the United States, a move that could be realized in all initial launch locations by Monday night.

The program which launched 3 months ago in Europe is seen as a direct competitor to Groupon, Living Social and Google Offers among other social buying platforms.

According to the report the program is first launching in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco with other cities to follow in the near future.

Much like their competitors, Facebook will offer deep discounts to customers of their service, discounts provided by company’s around the country who want to sell their products quickly and introduce new users to their offerings.

While there is no certain future for Facebook Deals, the company does have some huge advantages against their competitors which in turn could signal major trouble for Groupon. For example, rumors are circulating that retailers may not have to pay for the service. Under current business models businesses must pay social buying sites a percentage of their sales in order to secure their services, however Facebook may decide to profit only when Facebook Credits are used to buy products, allowing retailers to keep more of their upfront profits when users pay with credit cards and other payment services outside of Facebook’s virtual currency.

According to the report, Facebook Credits will be allowed to be used as payment and let’s be honest for a moment, how many users who meant to buy “in-app” products are going to unload their virtual real world cash on a really cool deal they see on Facebook Deals before they buy that next Farmville add-on they were planning to grab. Impulse spending is the name of the game and with their Facebook Credits making a huge splash for the company Facebook can already tap into users who with a few simple clicks may be willing to buy products from their deals platform. [Read more…]

LivingSocial Receives $400 Million Funding Round

Living Social Logo

Living Social LogoIn December 2010 social deals platform LivingSocial announced $175 million in funding from web empire Amazon and now just four months later the company has raised $400 million in a new round of funding.

At this time the sources for the new funding round have not been disclosed, however they are said to have come from both public and private sources.

In a public statement the company says they will use the money to create new innovations in their space, while expanding both domestically and globally.

Along with that funding the company now sits at a valuation of approximately $2 billion, while announcing more than 26 million members now use the site to find daily deal specials.

When the company’s first large Amazon round of funding was announced LivingSocial stated that they were currently raising $1 million in gross sales per day with $500 million revenue expected in 2011. [Read more…]

‘Google Offers’ Launching As Groupon Competitor

Google Offers

Google Offers

If you can’t spend $6 billion dollars to buy the technology you want, the next logical step is to build your own. After being turned down in their pursuit of owning social buying website Groupon, Google has decided to build their own competitor to the program.

Social web company Mashable unearthed documents today that show in detail how Google plans to take on Groupon on their own turf. In the spec sheet for the new program, Google says the product, called “Google Offers” is “a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email.”

Just like competitors Groupon and LivingSocial, Google Offers gives customers a certain time limit for obtaining special offers from company’s in their area and through national deals. The offers, just like their competitors is only triggered when a certain number of customers agree to the deal. [Read more…]

LivingSocial Offering 50% Off Amazon Gift Cards

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

After Amazon invested $175 million in startup LivingSocial just over one month ago, the social savings website is now offering Amazon customers 50% off their purchases.

The actual deal is simple, visit the website and purchase a $20 gift card for just $10.

LivingSocial members in all 170 markets the site serves can take part in the deal which will last until 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, January 20. [Read more…]

Groupon Collects $950 Million, Sees Massive Growth In 2010


Groupon LogoGotta love the team at Groupon, first they turn down multi-billion dollar offers, including one buyout attempt of more than $6 billion from Google, then they title their press release “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars.”

The $950 million dollar payday comes from a huge list of backers. According to ReadWriteWeb those backers include:

“Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Allen & Company LLC acted as financial advisor.”

[Read more…]

Amazon Exec Scooped Up By Groupon, Speculation Begins

Jason Child

Jason ChildWhat do you do after turning down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google? If you’re the Groupon team you head out and hire Jason Child, a former Amazon financial executive

Over the last several months rumors have surfaced that Groupon would go public and with the man behind $14 billion worth of Amazon sales at the helm of the company those rumors may in fact be correct.  Child handled that cash most recently as Amazon’s VP of finance.

Child also served as Amazon’s director of investor relationship and VP of finance for the Asian market.

Regardless of the reason for Groupon’s new hire, we can probably expect some type of financing to com Groupons way, either in the way of an IPO or big rounds of investor funding.  Also with Groupon acquiring several competitors in Europe and Asia over the last several months, Child’s experience in those regions could help grow the company’s reach in those regions.

What do you think about the acquisition of Jason Child from Amazon?