History of Groupon
Groupon is based in Chicago, IL. It started up about 2 years ago. It is a spin-off of an original business idea called "The Point." Groupon now serves 25 countries and has close to 20 Million subscribers. Kansas City now has 217,000 subscribers. Blanc sold the most Groupons ever for a restaurant with Groupon.
Social Media & Groupon
There is a Twitter stream and Facebook page for each city. The strategy is to be real and local to discuss what's going on in the particular city, what are people talking about and of course, growing more business locally. Deals are tweeted and shared on Facebook and email subscribers are encouraged to share as well.
Groupon is also well known for the quirky, entertaining paragraph write ups about the featured business. It's about an 11 person process from businesses showing interest until it's published on the site. There is no co-editing or co-writing with businesses, for consistency sake. Businesses give Groupon 5-10 things about the business that shouldn't be missed in the write up.
Currently Josh Stevens (@groupawned) is attempting to live off of Groupons for on year. He tweets where he is, blogs daily and has approximately 10,000 followers.
Even though Groupon is a $35B venture capital, it's still really a 'start up' at heart.
Groupon helps structure deals and amounts sold that are most beneficial to the business. Usually those businesses who are unhappy with capacity issues, didn't follow Groupon's advice.
Groupon is now offering targeted deals, based on how individuals preferences have segmented them. These deals are sent to users based on sex/location. Data is NOT sold.
7 in 1 businesses get rejected who want to participate in Groupon.
Criteria? Groupon researches extensively with reviews (Yelp, City Search), sometimes checks with the Better Business Bureau to ensure the business is legitimate.
Hearing it straight from Blanc
Jason from Groupon reached out to Blanc. At first Blanc didn't want to participate - didn't believe in advertising or 'discounting'. They ignored calls for about 6 months. Finally Ernesto, Owner of Blanc subscribed to Groupon to check it out. He was a member of the Kansas City Originals club and had heard the President say they had tried it out. Found out it wasn't necessarily about making money, but rather generating awareness. With the opening of the Blanc restaurant in Lee's Summit (b2) and the move of the main restaurant from Westport to the Plaza, Ernestothought this would be a good time to try out Groupon.
It was a success. The restaurants were very busy; busier than any other holiday they had ever experienced. 7% of people redeemed their Groupon the first week. To Jason's advice, they were prepared with extra staff on hand. Of those that purchased, 75% were first-timer visitors to Blanc. Approximately 85-90% have returned.
Groupon is a social purchase. If you sell 8,000 Groupons, the buyer will bring in at least 1 extra person, so it's really like selling 16,000. Groupon didn't make them money, but it did bring in new customers. However, servers were very happy, as they made more money.
More from Blanc
Would they do it again? YES! Do Groupon people tip well? YES! From Ernesto Peralta, "I believe social media is what is going to get us the new generation of customers... Social Media has helped us out a lot."