Groupon NOT #1

It is a forgone conclusion that Groupon is the number one Daily Deals site in North America. Pretty much in any major city across North America. With Living Social being #2.

In Canada, Groupon continues it’s dominance across the country, where it presently leads in sales. However, there is one major city in North America where Groupon is not #1. In fact, they are so far away from the top spot that they are seen as a below average service in this city. They are #3 or #4 depending on the month.  This city seems to be Groupon’s worst performing big city across North America. Which city is this? (if you know the answer before reading the rest of the post, then get a hold of me, I’d like you to write for us)

So, what city holds the dubious distinction of being Groupon’s worst performing big city? None other than the city of Montreal. We wrote about Groupon’s difficulties in Montreal in a previous post.

The City of Montreal has about 3.6 million people. It is the 2nd largest city in Canada. Groupon should be generating several millions of dollars per month in a city that size. How poorly is Groupon performing in Montreal? We won’t publish exact figures (to protect the innocent), but over the past 3 months Groupon generated between $150,000-$350,000 per month. That’s it!

In comparison, Vancouver only has about 2.1 million people but Groupon generates over 10 times the revenue in Vancouver.  The province of Alberta? Calgary and Edmonton both have populations of around 1 million people. So with a combined population of  about 2 million in these two cities, Groupon still generates over 9 times the revenue of Montreal.

For Groupon, the performance of Montreal is a miserable one. If I were sitting in sales meetings with their head of sales, I would have a serious look into both marketing and sales strategies in this part of the country. (Darren Schwartz, read this post) Why does Groupon succeed so well in France, yet fails so miserably in Quebec?  Several reasons for this, but those are outside the scope of this post.

To be fair, Groupon is not the only company to falter when entering Montreal. This city is not an easy place to market. There are 3 consumer types in this city; French, English and Bilingual. There are strategies to reach each that most outside companies fail to realize.

So who is number 1 in the city? We’ll get to that in a moment.

Groupon is having difficulties in Montreal because it is not catering to its client base all that well. The population is french speaking in Montreal and Groupon has not immersed itself in its culture. Sure, Groupon has a french website, but it is missing a whole bunch of features that, well, piss people off. It’s as if the developers and marketers for  Groupon Canada have no idea how to cater to this population. For a large and successful operation like Groupon, that is rather embarrassing. Groupon also has the reputation of being rather arrogant and that simply does not sit well with Montrealers. Here is a sample of some missing features from Groupon’s service in Montreal:

1. It has a different website than the main Groupon site. The Montreal site can only be accessed by Groupon.ca.

2. There are no past deals on the Montreal site, so no one can see the types of deals previously run in Montreal.

3. There is no mobile version of Groupon for Montrealers. From Montreal? Too bad, out of luck because Groupon developers didn’t bother to add the city to their mobile app.

4. No Groupon “Now” in Montreal. Although it’s in Vancouver and Toronto. (their instant deals service)

5. They seem to have fixed the following issue; One of the worst parts that showed the inability of their technical team to get this right;  Groupon’s English Montreal site and French Montreal site do not share the same voucher sales. These two sites run on different databases, thus showing different sales results. If I were a consumer that jumped back and forth from French to English, or vice versa,  as some do, this would be a rather confusing element to the site and is rather amateurish. As mentioned, they seemed to have fixed this issue over the past week.

6. On a separate note, all those aggregators out there who grab Groupon’s data from Canada. Well, most of your data was wrong for Quebec up until now if were not taking into account the separate database aspect of Groupon.ca

7. Groupon is still trying to get away with 50% of the sale in Montreal. That is ludicrous and merchants should not accept this at all. Groupon is 3rd, 4th and sometime 5th in sales in the city of Montreal. They just do not have the same numbers as other Daily Deal sites. Some of their more successful competitors are offering merchants on average 60% or more of the deal. Yet Groupon still tries to milk merchants for 50%.

8. Some links on the French site link to English pages. Or worse, some French pages still have English text.  A BIG no-no. Groupon, fix this immediately before your clients in Montreal really start to get irritated.

9. Believe it or not there are further unacceptable mistakes on the site. For instance, as I am writing this, Groupon.ca has a banner showing on the French site that is in German! Yup, German. Ok, click on it…it goes to some English page. These little things aren’t really crucial, but add these all up and Groupon in Montreal is operating as if they just launched with no money 2 months ago. The entire operation seems as if its run by people who have no idea how to do business in the province of Quebec. Very odd.

10. Their “about us” page on Groupon.ca is very old… it even shows executives who are no longer with the company.

I can go on, but….

All these reasons and issues have given rise to the term “Groupon Sucks” from the consumers in Montreal, or rather, “Groupon, c’est de la merde”! Given their dedication to growth and service, and given their ambition to expand to other French speaking cities in Quebec, we hope Groupon takes their presence in this part of Canada far more seriously going forward. Our recommendation: hire a Marketing Manager JUST for Quebec immediately.

So who is #1 in the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec?
That pleasure goes to a Daily Deal site called Tuango. They generate over 6 times the revenue Groupon does in the province. They are a powerhouse  in Quebec and we are in the midst of writing a post specifically discussing the province of Quebec and Tuango. Stay tuned.

3 Comments
  1. digiroa@hotmail.com'

    It’s true. Out on the East Coast TeamBuy.ca is bigger than Groupon as well. Halifax supports its Canadian companies.

  2. davidmoolah@gmail.com'

    I thought you were going to say Boston.

    Yes, many companies have a hard time succeeding in Montreal, and for the same reason you mentioned. They send big-shot executives from head offices to run the operations, who are totally non-sensitized to the fact that Montreal is more of a country than a province. Absolutely, hiring local management is a key element for any Montreal corporation.