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Groupon Launches Groupon Stores – Is This Groupon 2.0?
During his talk at Startup School earlier this month, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason noted that the company is working towards launching Groupon 2.0 after they master Groupon 1.0. Mason also mentioned that there is a six-month backlog of merchants that want to be featured on Groupon. Could a self-service option be the Groupon 2.0 Mason referred to?
A variety of startups have launched offering ways for companies to offer group buying deals on their own without the need to go to Groupon, Living Social and the other current group buying services. Groupon currently has over 1,600 salespeople in their 2,500 member workforce. Perhaps Groupon sees self-service as an opportunity to expand their business and build revenue further without the need for as heavy a sales presence in every city. This self-service opportunity becomes greater as Groupon’s brand presence continues to grow.
Oddly the idea of Groupon offering a self-service option differs from Mason’s presentation in which he talked about the need for a strong sales team to make sure all of the deals are of top quality. I assume there will be a strong quality control mechanism for self-promoted deals. Maybe they will add Digg-like voting to push deals to the frontpage of a city.
Yesterday Brian Mayer at MV Technology Partners noticed something new on the Groupon Chicago (their homebase) market. In the graphic below, you can see that Groupon mentions a new service named, “Groupon Stores” which appears to be a self-service option for merchants to participate within the Groupon platform.
I couldn’t find a mention of Groupon Stores within the merchants section of the site so I am not sure what the fees and/or charges are for merchants who use this new offering.
Brian notes, “The potential of this new program is obvious: the new merchant program will allow stores to create their own Groupon deals, which would presumably be purchased through the Groupon system, growing the network and enabling more targeted, localized deals.”
So far, the current Groupon Stores deal I’ve displayed below only has 6 sales. I wonder if the next city they will launch Groupon Stores will be in Mobile, their newest city.