Simon Says: Daily Deals are rubbish, at the moment

junk mail

This morning I woke up to several emails: new girls in my area wanting to talk on, are having another sale & Groupon offers me 40% off a weekend spa break. All 3 went straight into the Trash.

I know from past experience the “girls in my area” are either people I know or live too far away. Anything in the TopMan sale is there for a reason - usually because even the cast of Skins wouldn’t be seen dead in it. And Groupon clearly doesn’t know me from Adam.

On paper getting 40% and above off products and services is great news – who doesn’t like a bargain. But for my money, it still needs to be something I am interested in. Groupon has just set its IPO share price at $20; this values the company at $13 it really worth that?

Groupon doesn’t know me. It has my email address, name and which city I am currently living in. A male in London called Simon...a quick search on Facebook brings up 10s of thousands of results...I could be anyone.

But I am not anyone. I’ve got thoughts, interests, feelings and hobbies unique to me. Of course I am not the only one who enjoys my hobbies and interests, but they don’t have a clue about me. As a result the “daily deal emails” are, at best, shot-in-the-dark attempts to sell me things.

Could you imagine walking down the high street and having people jump out at you and say "50% off this clock radio!" when you only popped out for a breakfast smoothie?

The key data Groupon has at its disposal is Groupons I’ve purchased. This should be key for determining which vouchers I will want to buy in the future.

Additionally, why do I need a deal every day? I am unlikely to buy a voucher everyday. So how about this Groupon…


Add in categories for people to select; by knowing your target audience you’ll also save your sales teams time hunting down deals that may not sell as well. Imagine knowing that 60% of North London Groupon members are really interested in Comedy.

# 2

Get people to log in using their Facebook / Twitter; use the key words from recent Tweets / interest boxes from my music / TV shows etc to target deals to me, not at me.

# 3

Get moving on launching Groupon Now, because that’s actually a good idea. For people who don’t know, Groupon is rolling out 'Groupon Now', a hyper localised deal service where business owners can create their own, very specific deals, on a whim to drum up new business. It’ll run on the mobile app and let you see deals happening right now, near you.

# 4

Stop pretending to care about the local businesses / areas you service. Lets face it, you’ve got a well-written blog but you do not care about the cities you operate in. LivingSocial walks all over this with a simple (but effective) “365 things to do in London”. They’re currently at 369 and each is only a paragraph long, but links to the social media profiles of the selected business, giving back to the community and offering me valuable, quick and easy to access content.

# 5

Improve your mobile apps. This one is a little bit picky of me & I should be more specific: improve your branding. I am sure you’ve done tests and concluded that the horrible green (sidebar point, green is my favourite colour and I hate your logo) awkwardly shaped logo is right on the money. The massive text and almost in your face "Buy Now" button is exactly what people crave...but I don’t think it is. Look at LivingSocial. They’ve clearly invested time and money into a designer with a vision for the site...although to shoot myself in the foot, I’ve never purchased a deal from LivingSocial and I purchased my 2nd Groupon last week. So maybe I am wrong. After all the bottom line is everything, but will customer service and great design win in the long run?

# 6

Stop making me enter a new email address every time I go to your website. You claim x-number of email addresses are in your database, but I’ve entered 'owjdwqoatgmail [dot] com' or something similar about 10 times. It makes me do this before I can view the deal. Now we all know that emails are gold. My favourite statistic ever (it’s weird to have one) is that most people will change their physical address more often than they’ll change their email address. But stop with the hard sell.

On a side note, I can’t be the only one who has unsubscribed to Groupons emails about 50 times and yet there they are… every morning.

# 7

Give us some of the power. I’ve written about how I think Groupon is rubbish by comparison to social services such as FourSquare before, but the one take out point I should have expanded on is to let people do a Groupon Requests service. This would allow people to say I want “xxx”, if 200 people also want it, we’d like 20% off. Then send your sales staff in to do their magic. You’ve got guaranteed sales – assuming you can sell the idea to the company, but who is honestly going to turn down a revenue sale of 200 customers? Really...

# 8

Do not run from check in services...they’ll be your best friend in the long run. If you allowed people to link their Groupon account with their FourSquare or Facebook Places you can see where people are going. The most popular locations & services allowing you to contact those businesses and get deals for them. It sounds so simple, mainly because it is.

Shot in the dark daily deals have had their day and they worked...for a while. But in the long run I can’t see that as a sustainable business model. Also, you've got a role for a Product Developer, feel free to contact me as I've got some other nice ideas.

So in short, Groupon, I wouldn’t buy shares in you, even if you offered them to me with a 40% discount.

Photo (cc) Simon Lieschke