Groupons: Crowdsourcing Coupons

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Groupons, or group coupons, are gaining traction as a discounting trend. Groupon.com, one prominent groupon site, lets you find a deal a day in your city (they operate in 35 cities). If you get enough people to sign up for that deal, you can all enjoy the advertised discount. Groupon negotiates deals with participating businesses in advance. Consumers win by getting a cheaper price, and companies win by getting a high volume of customers inside their doors.

Today, I found a 50% off discount on an annual membership to my city’s botanical gardens. Recent expired deals offered cheap ski lift tickets, more than 1/2 off restaurant dining, and heavily discounted spa treatments. The deals look pretty good. ABC News has a full report:

“Groupon is targeted to local communities, so you’re advertising and reaching out to people in your immediate area. You’re not looking at potential customers, they are bringing you actual customers,” (one business owner) said.

Groupon.com operates in 35 cities and claims to have made more than 800,000 deals. Deals are available for everything from spa treatments to sky diving lessons, limo rides, wine clubs, even teeth cleaning. But it is not enough to want the coupon yourself; you have to hope that five of your friends and five of their friends and so on also sign up. Once the minimum amount is met the deal begins.

Deal seekers can sign up for free at groupon.com and then receive daily alerts. Most of the deals last only a day, though, so you need to act fast. (One customer) saved $180 on a facial from a groupon deal.

Groupon.com charges the business owner a small cut of each sale for its service. The Web site claims more than $35 million has been saved so far, which means both local businesses and buyers win.

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