“Groupon Now”, now in Toronto, Vancouver

Groupon launched its mobile service “Groupon Now” back in April.  This service enables merchants to select the time and date and rebate they wish to offer consumers over the next day or two. Hungry? go to Groupon-Now on your mobile and see which restaurants in your area are offering great deals redeemable NOW. It is hoping that this service will change the way consumers buy local products and services, especially those that are impulse buys.

Groupon-Now is now available in Canada. Consumers in the city of Vancouver and Toronto will benefit from immediate savings. Go to http://www.groupon.com/now to give it a go.

When a user opens up their Groupon-Now smartphone app, they will be presented  with a list of time-specific daily deals, based on location. A $15 voucher for $30 worth of food, for instance,  is no longer a one-time offer. Instead, merchants choose when they want these deals to be available. So if the restaurant is having a slow day, it can deliver a Groupon -Now for 60% off but only if the consumer comes today before 4pm. This promo would be delivered to those signed up for the Groupon-Now service in any given location.

This is an extremely powerful marketing tool for merchants, especially for merchants with perishable items like restaurants, hotels, car rentals, or labour intensive industries like spas. Consumers continue to benefit from this couponing craze and with time, this will change the way consumers spend their local dollars.

 

Our take?

We have said it all along, this is NOT about Daily Deals. It’s about local commerce. And Groupon is looking at changing the way people buy locally. I believe they have already started seeing change.

Living Social also has a similar service, but we do not believe it is available in Canada yet.

Recommendation:

The Yellow Pages should launch a similar product ASAP. They have over 300,000 merchant relationships and no reason why they cannot dominate the Canadian local commerce industry. A tremendous amount of consumers search on The Yellow Pages web properties. These searches can be transitioned into purchases as opposed to simple searches. Even if a small percentage can be switched to immediate purchases, motivated by a special rebate, then the yellow pages can generate a tremendous ROI for their merchants and in turn revenues for themselves as opposed to just charging the typical advertisng fee to the merchant for posting their online listing.

For now, both merchants and consumers using Groupon-Now in Toronto and Vancouver are benefiting.

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