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#21 TastyTidbits1

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 07:16 PM

I bought a coupon yesterday for the Haunted Corn Maze and right above the price it was posted they had a cap (didn't say what the cap was though).

A few weeks ago I bought the golf swing/PGA Pro lesson for Mr. Tidbits and I think almost 600 people purchased. That's a lot of lessons for one golf pro to book by end of January.

#22 chefken

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 07:53 PM

I bought a coupon yesterday for the Haunted Corn Maze and right above the price it was posted they had a cap (didn't say what the cap was though).

A few weeks ago I bought the golf swing/PGA Pro lesson for Mr. Tidbits and I think almost 600 people purchased. That's a lot of lessons for one golf pro to book by end of January.


We got a suggestion from someone close to the Deli that Kenny and Zuke's participate in Groupon - this on top of the frequent calls from Groupon with sales pitches. So I checked out the site, and then decided it wasn't for us.

One of the examples of a recent promotion was a yoga studio. They offered a coupon (sorry, I refuse to say "a groupon" like it's really a word) for something like a week's sessions, or something like that. $220 value that they were selling for $20! They sold 1700+ of them! I'll be astounded if they're still in business by the end of the year.

I think that Groupon may be a good thing for some businesses (it's good for this site as there's an ad on most pages). But I think a lot of businesses are sold a bill of goods, with a lot of promises about how their traffic will increase - which is likely - and how this traffic will pay off with repeat business - which isn't necessarily so. The point being - if all that the Groupon program results in is giving away a shitload of goods and services for a greatly reduced price - remember, the biz is only getting 1/2 of what is often a 50% or less price, in other words 25% or less - or virtually nothing - as in the yoga studio - and it's only resulting in a greatly discounted clientel and not much repeat business, then the program can greatly hurt the business, and perhaps drive it out of business.

This possibility is never presented to the business. All you see on their website is rosy platitudes and alleged success stories. There are no disclaimers. I'm skeptical. It's likely too young a program to be able to really examine statistics. But I wonder if two, or three, or five years down the road there will be statistics that show the effects of this, and other coupon programs on businesses, and what these will show.
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#23 TastyTidbits1

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 08:40 PM

I'm really surprised that so many people can purchase one groupon offer. Who knows, Mr. Tidbits has had golf lessons in the past, but I don't know if he will anytime soon. In the end, it gives visibility for the pro's business and we will think of him if we ever want lessons, but when will that be?

I think a cap is better. Creates a sense of urgency and if the groupon sells out quickly, well then, it piques my curiosity about the place much more than 2000 people with the same coupon.

#24 jennifer

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 09:47 PM

Maybe I'm naive, but I gotta believe that if you own a business, the decision to do a Groupon is similar to the decision to accept credit cards or any other promotion that you decide to run. You're going to look at the potential pros/cons of doing these things, and analyze every single "what if" scenario possible to decide if it's right for your business or not. If the business owner is gullible enough to get swept up by some slick sales presentation and not be smart enough to run the numbers and scenarios, then how in the end can you blame Groupon for selling their program?

It reminds me of walking down the main drag of shops in Lahaina in Maui. Every other shop had some sleazy dude hanging out of the doorway pushing timeshares. To this day it's a running joke in our house, "Psst...wanna buy a timeshare?"

I too ordered Portland Monthly through the Groupon. After about a month I wasn't sure if they got my order or not, so I gave 'em a call. A friendly person answered the phone right away, pulled up my account, confirmed my order & said magazines can take up to 2 months to fill orders. No problem. My subscription has been arriving like normal, and all of my other Groupon purchases I've made over the past year have been without incident.

#25 ExtraMSG

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 12:52 AM

I mostly agree with you, Jennifer, but generally salespeople are familiar with the nuances -- some important -- of their own product in a way that their customer won't be. A good salesperson, thinking about the long-term relationship with their customer -- will point these out and try to ensure that their customer has a good experience. A clever salesperson who doesn't care about the long-term relationship will, familiar with the special issues surrounding their product, will address these concerns before they even come up from the customer, usually in a mis-leading way. eg, they might tell a restaurant owner that the average sales for their site is 100 per coupon and that they really discourage capping a coupon because it's more likely to be purchased by only savvy groupon users and will annoy others. But the salesperson might also secretly know that most restaurant coupons sell 1000. The restaurant may never use the coupon service again after they get screwed over, but that salesperson already got their commission and doesn't give a shit.

Not saying Groupon or its salespeople would pull this kind of stunt, of course.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#26 chefken

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 03:43 AM

I mostly agree with you, Jennifer, but generally salespeople are familiar with the nuances -- some important -- of their own product in a way that their customer won't be. A good salesperson, thinking about the long-term relationship with their customer -- will point these out and try to ensure that their customer has a good experience. A clever salesperson who doesn't care about the long-term relationship will, familiar with the special issues surrounding their product, will address these concerns before they even come up from the customer, usually in a mis-leading way. eg, they might tell a restaurant owner that the average sales for their site is 100 per coupon and that they really discourage capping a coupon because it's more likely to be purchased by only savvy groupon users and will annoy others. But the salesperson might also secretly know that most restaurant coupons sell 1000. The restaurant may never use the coupon service again after they get screwed over, but that salesperson already got their commission and doesn't give a shit.

Not saying Groupon or its salespeople would pull this kind of stunt, of course.


Which would be called a...con game? All legal, of course.

I think the perception is that businesspeople are all-wise and should know what they're doing all the time. Maybe they should. But a lot are just like everyone else - they don't necessarily have the time and energy to be completely up on everything and sophisticated decision-makers. Does that mean they shouldn't be in business? Does falling for an aluminum siding scheme mean you shouldn't own a house?
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#27 ExtraMSG

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 04:33 PM

Update on my request for a refund:

Benjamin V, Sep 23 08:05 am (CDT):
Hi Nick,
I got in touch and I was told that they have received a disproportionate batch of massage appointments to the rest of the appointments at the spa. If your wife was attempting to make a massage appointment, they'd be happy to extend the expiration date for it. Any other appointment shouldn't have as long a wait.
In regards to the question about the limit: yes! We do let vendors know that they can cap a deal. Some choose not to, others do.
Regards,
Benjamin V
support@groupon.com


And then later...

Jonathan, Sep 22 04:49 pm (CDT):
Hi Nick,
I would be happy to cancel this order and issue $45 Groupon credit to your account.
The credit would be available in your account immediately and does not expire. You would be able to see your available credit in the "My Gifts" section of "My Stuff" on the right side of the screen. Groupon credit will automatically apply to your future purchases until they run out.
Please let me know how you would like to proceed.
Regards,
Jonathan
support@groupon.com


Which is the avenue I'll go. I'll take a credit. I think it's a more than fair resolution and that it was sufficiently prompt.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#28 superdog

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 01:58 PM

Well, I'll be testing their customer support. Just sent an email off. My wife has been looking for a new place for massage, so I've gotten her a couple Groupons to test out places. She just tried to redeem one for Venus Spa today and they said that they're entirely booked through the expiration date. Probably stupid on their part not to redeem past the expiration date because all those who have called in are now going to think they got ripped off. They need to at least come up with a better excuse and try to put the customers on a path to getting their money back. I feel for the store, but these aren't small purchases, even if they're huge discounts. You're still paying $40+ for the coupon. They said they sold 900. Groupon really needs to have caps available on purchases, or if they do, then shame on the spa for not making use of them.

Even after the expiration date, the merchants are required by law to honor the coupon for what you purchased for, well, unless they are out of business. If they stay in business and able to book an appt for your wife after the expiration date, you shouldn't lose any money, just not the discount you expected from the Groupon purchase.

I've seen on Yelp reviews that some of the merchants are not honoring the goupons after the expiration date, and verbally attacking the customers. If it is really true, that's a big no no and they can get themselves in trouble.
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#29 jennifer

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:15 PM

From the Oregonian: "Coupons come with downside: consumer bullies"

Positive & negative Groupon experiences from merchants are discussed. On EaT Oyster Bar:

He offered the coupon, selling more than 1,500, only to come across customers who broke the rules. Some bought several instead of honoring the one-per limit. Others attempted to use it more than once, or argued to use it past its expiration date.

Consumers who might have shrugged off a denied deal in the past are now more inclined to need the discount on a necessity or to justify a night-out. And, to be sure, plenty of retailers have fallen short of marketing promises and forced consumers seeking satisfaction to "escalate" problems -- often inch by painful inch -- up the management flagpole.

For both, the recession has upped the ante.


And a positive story from Collage arts in SE and NE Portland:

Maria Raleigh, owner of Collage arts stores in Southeast and Northeast Portland, also lauds the deal. Nearly 1,900 people bought coupons for $20 worth of art supplies or classes for $10. So for every $10 spent, she shared $5 with Groupon.

"On the deal alone, there's not even enough to cover the cost of goods," she said. "But if you take into consideration most people bring others in with them, the word of mouth experience and the fact they may shop after they take a class, that $5 you're spending is a pretty good investment."

In August, she said, business is up 90 percent at her Alberta Street store and 60 percent at the Woodstock location, compared with last year. She credits much of that to Groupon.


The Posie's Cafe story is in there also.

Full article here:
http://www.oregonliv...wnside_con.html

#30 ExtraMSG

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:24 PM

Are you sure about that, Ellen? My understanding is that the expiration dates on coupons and printed gift certificates are valid. However, gift cards can not expire.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#31 ExtraMSG

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:27 PM

Actually, it looks like the linked article touches on this:

The company settled an attempted class-action lawsuit this year that had questioned its expiration date policy. Skating between gift card or coupon rules, Mossler said it now follows the more strict gift-card guidelines that vary from state to state. (Oregon allows expiration dates as long as they're clearly marked on the card.)


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#32 Angelhair

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 01:33 PM

Edited out previous reference.


Also Nightline did a report on the record-breaking growth of the company and its corporate ethos:

http://www.hulu.com/...xtreme-clipping

#33 sacman

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 06:19 PM

Ars has an interesting article on this. Even though the majority of businesses who used Groupon reported that the experience was profitable, a large percentage of them said they wouldn't do it again.

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- I am an employee of a Portland-based firm that has business relationships with several local food-related businesses.

#34 jafar

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 03:42 PM

Ars has an interesting article on this. Even though the majority of businesses who used Groupon reported that the experience was profitable, a large percentage of them said they wouldn't do it again.

-sacman


Which is not the same thing as saying that if they had it to do over they would choose against it.

It may be that "doing it once is good but twice is not worth it" as opposed to "its not worth it".

#35 Jill-O

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 05:02 PM

Interesting and informative NYT blog article:

http://boss.blogs.ny...ner=rss&emc=rss

Groupon is advertising. If you donít need or believe in advertising, there is no reason to look at this. It costs money. Instead of writing a check for an ad, you are choosing to lose money on sales...


That is why it is critical to do the math....Unfortunately, it is much easier and much more accurate to do the math after you try the program, because you will not have to guess on as many numbers. There are eight key calculations you need to consider to determine whether this is a better advertising vehicle than something else you may already be doing:

1. Your incremental cost of sales ó that is, the actual cost percentage for a new customer. If you are giving boat tours and have empty seats, your incremental costs for an additional customer are next to nothing. If you are selling clothes, your incremental costs might be 50 percent of the sale price. Food might be 40 percent. In any case, donít include fixed costs that you would be incurring any way.

2. The amount of the average sale. If the coupon is for $75, will the customers spend more that that? I have seen more than one retailer complain that nobody spends more than the value of the coupon. Thatís unlikely but I am sure it can feel that way, and that is my point: Keep track.

3. Redemption percentage. You donít really know until the end, but from my experience and from what I have heard, 85 percent is a good guess.

4. Percentage of your coupon users who are already your customers. Iím sure this number varies tremendously depending on the size of your city, how long you have been around, and the type of business.

5. How many coupons does each customer buy? (The more they buy, the fewer people are exposed to your product or service.)

6. What percentage of coupon customers will turn into regular customers? Again, it can seem as if they are all bargain shoppers who will never return without a discount, but thatís almost impossible. Is it possible 90 percent wonít return? Sure.

7. What is the advertising value of having your business promoted to 900,000 people ó thatís the number on Grouponís Chicago list ó even if they donít buy a coupon?

8. How much does it normally cost you to acquire a customer through advertising? Everything is relative.




Never give up! Never surrender!

#36 Jill-O

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:48 AM

Google is making a bid for Groupon:

http://dealbook.nyti...buying-groupon/
Never give up! Never surrender!

#37 jennifer

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 05:16 PM

I just had some really quick & great customer support from Tippr/Yollar, if any of you get these emails in addition to Groupon. They partner with KGW for daily deals. I'd bought the Autentica deal from them in November but never printed it. I went to go print it just now & it didn't show an option for this. So I emailed them at 4:50pm today, and they wrote me back within 5 minutes on instructions for what to do. Very friendly & a "live" personal email, not an auto-reply. Just thought I'd share a note of good customer service! I think all of these group-buying services are on their toes since competition is fierce.

#38 Angelhair

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 10:19 AM

Among businesses, the initial reaction to the concept of Groupon was: "Give our shit away for half price? Well, it's good advertising." But now, that reaction is changing to: "Give our shit away for half price? Ehhh."

Groupon's own reaction, of course, remains: "What a great fucking scam we've got going here." http://gawker.com/#!5785317/the-groupon-backlash-is-on


The above commentary regarding: Burned by Daily-Deal Craze, Small Businesses Get Savvy

#39 Angelhair

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:59 AM

More on Groupon and its ilk from the NYTimes

Indeed, Jessie Schupack, the director of communications for Mr. Murphy’s two Landmarc restaurants, said that “the customers who are paying full price are subsidizing the discounters,” and added, “So how long does it take for patrons to think, ‘Why should I ever pay full price?’ ”

If that kind of thinking catches on, restaurateurs will start to wonder what kind of bargain they have struck.

“These sites seem like pop-up businesses that will disappear,” said Ms. Mason, the versifier. “But I worry that when they wash away, and the tide pulls back, everyone will be expecting the kind of discounts that make it impossible for small businesses to stay afloat.”

Wise for Some Restaurants, Coupons Are a Drain at Others

Groupon, which says it has 60 million subscribers, is adding Groupon Now, a GPS-based app offering local discounts that are time-specific so restaurants can experiment with off-peak pricing.


Of course the posies debacle is cited.

#40 ExtraMSG

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 03:14 PM

http://www.nbcchicag...-134312058.html

A London baker is steamed at daily discounter Groupon after customers flooded her shop and forced her to bake 102,000 cupcakes.

Rachel Brown offered a 75 percent discount on a dozen cupcakes through the Chicago-based daily deal company. With 12 cakes normally costing $40, her Need a Cake bakery was swarmed. More than 8,500 people signed up for the deal, which cost them just $10. Brown had to hire extra workers and wound up losing nearly $3 on each batch, according to the BBC. She ended up losing nearly $20,000.

"Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision," Brown told the BBC. "We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn't expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping."


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's