Groupon has an instant mobile deal spin-off called Groupon Now! - launched recently in Chicago and fully expected to expand quickly to the other cities where Groupon has operations. The service will offer discounts in real time for businesses in the vicinity of the user’s current location.
"Revealed in March, the service works both through the web and its location-aware iPhone and Android mobile applications. Irrespective of the time of the day and their location, users can use either component to find deals, which have time-restrictions set by the businesses that offer it, in their vicinity."
Groupon is currently using email as its main sales channel, but they believe that in a couple of years, half of the deals will be sold via mobile channels.
According to this expectation, Groupon is already trying to build up relations with existing players in the mobile sector to capture early market share and to gain experience (and data!).
Groupon is first cooperating with location based service Loopt. Loopt users can get Groupon Now! discounts according to their current location. Loopt tracks users’ location continually in the background and is not dependant on active check-ins (which is also possible).
"The arrangement is likely to see Groupon deals targeted to Foursquare users’ check-ins."
The next logical step for Groupon would be to move to a platform based approach in the mobile sector. With an API, it would be possible to standardize interaction with mobile services. And on the merchant side Groupon already has Groupon Stores. Groupon could thus become the intermediary between mobile services and local merchants.
Groupon’s entry into the mobile market couldn’t be soon enough. The location based service SCNVGR is already showing success in several US cities with their LevelUp service:
"With LevelUp, SCVNGR is competing with local deal programs like Groupon and Living Social by offering a series of three deals to consumers, who unlock each one as they try out a business. Encouraging customer loyalty is radically different new twist to the daily-deal market.
Two months into a pilot program in Philadelphia and Boston, LevelUp says it has about 200 SMBs offering deals to 100,000 registered users, divided equally between the two eastern cities. The company said its high-watermark for a daily deal has been 1,400 takers. ”By volume, we are already in the top three players in Boston and Philadelphia,” Priebatsch said. “[On] any given day, it’s Groupon, LivingSocial, LevelUp … which is pretty sweet.”"
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Originally posted in German by Marcel Weiss, adapted for excitingcommerce.com by Jason Soo.