Groupon — The Ultimate Deal Provider?

I received an excellent comment on my last post regarding Foursquare vs. Facebook Places from Sheldon; he asked, “What you think about Groupons? are they going to be affected by facebook deals?”

It made me realize that I didn’t know much about Groupon, so I decide to sign up and give it a try. 

After a couple of weeks in, I’ve come to the conclusion that Groupon is an excellent source of local deals. I definitely believe that it is the most powerful and successful deal provider of its kind at this day — it was even rumored to be in the works of being sold to Google for billions. Though they turned down Google, they’ve been able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in funding — it’s pretty incredible. LivingSocial is a relatively close competitor, and just landed $175 million investment from Amazon. To the consumer, it’s beneficial to have multiple, successful deal or discount provider sites because it gives more opportunities for for us to save. Bring on the competition! Because these two sites are so similar, I’m not sure if they will both continue to thrive — I believe that one will eventually beat out the other with better quality deals. For right now, we can just thrive in the savings. There is no harm in subscribing to whichever site you want, you’ll just have to sift through more e-mails.

Getting back to Sheldon’s question, I would not consider Groupon and Facebook Places (or even Foursquare) a direct competition. Sure, they both provide deals and discount for consumers. Groupon and LivingSocial provide daily deals to your e-mail. You may have no desire to use the deal and it might not even be something targeted to you. However, these deals may be huge. I just bought a Groupon Deal for $50 at Nordstrom Rack for only $25. 50% savings! Amazing.

On the other hand, Facebook Places or Foursquare deals are offered to you when you check-in to a location. These are far more valuable because you are already at that location when you are checking-in, and you’re probably planning on spending money there already. Theses type of location-based check-in deals benefit current customers while Groupon and LivingSocial rake in a lot of new customers coming in for a one-time deal. I have only bought one Groupon in the months that I’ve subscribed; however, these location-based savings I use all the time.

It really is only the beginning with these deal providers and location-based social media sites. Right now, I don’t see the harm in using as many of these that are you are wanting or willing to. Personally, I subscribe to Groupon and LivingSocial because I don’t have to do any work to earn those deals. Why not subscribe? As far as location-based social media, Foursquare is still my favorite. That’s where I see the better deals and that’s where my friends are. This may change in a month — that’s how fast these sites pop up.

What do you use? Where have you found the best deals?

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