Online Group Couponing Services

Online Group Couponing Services
by Trish Gillis

I am a BIG bargain fan. Even online – I always Google for a promo code before I hit submit on my shopping cart. As a marketer, not only do I love a good coupon – I love the direct response aspect of proudly presenting the coupon that brought me to a location I may not have visited otherwise. It tells the retailer or restaurant that their marketing worked, because here I am purchasing the product!

So – I was an early promoter of Groupon.

However, as other companies have developed and replicate the Groupon model, there is a mixed reception.What do you think? Could you complete this short survey to share your thoughts about these services? The feedback will be shared in the next issue of The Market.

Recent articles on the topic consider whether these deals create a culture of bargain-hoppers. If you are concerned about one-hit wonders, use the service to target slow periods in your business. A restaurant with slow lunch times in the off-season could offer a coupon that drives lunch traffic and expires prior to peak season.  A retail custom stationer could offer a holiday card deal in the summer months.Business owners that plan this way and wait patiently for the appropriate time for an offer to drive business tend to enthusiastically endorse this marketing tool.

Tips for Group Couponing Success

1.       Note on the coupon itself whether the bearer has done business with you before. This is the easiest way to survey without slowing down the transaction. You can review the slips later to track new traffic versus existing customers. These deals offer an opportunity to introduce your business to new people and offer a nice “thank you” deal to existing customers.

2.       Track the number of redemptions. You need to provide a great deal to encourage people to pay upfront for your offer. You share the price of the pre-paid coupon with the service that markets the offer for you. If this feels like too much for you, track the redemptions. Consider the number of redemptions to the number sold.  Consider the percentage of new people to your business in the redemptions. Look at the bigger picture to get the full story at this marketing program’s conclusion.

3.       Create a staff incentive contest. If an enthusiastic staff greets and serves your group-coupon-bearing customers, it will make an impression on the consumer. Create a contest to make the program worthwhile for the staff. Wait staff may be disappointed when a successful restaurant promotion brings them smaller tips than a full-price meal. Offer an incentive for the employee with the most coupons in a set period of time. In retail, offer incentives for the most units upsold (gently). Whatever your business, determine an opportunity to keep your staff engaged in the goal to make a great impression on the new customers to bring them back!

4.       Offer a postcard with your social media channels as a takeaway. Include on the handout that you will promote future specials, coupons and online group coupons through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. accounts. If you hand them the information on a good quality postcard, they are more likely to remember to link, like, follow you when they are in front of their computer. A QR Code on the card offers a high-tech solution for encouraging consumers to connect directly with you.

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