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Using Groupon to increase sales

June 1, 2011

Tom Lambert
Tom
After years learning everything Tom could about web technology and digital marketing, he co-founded CandidSky. Tom loves coming up with new ideas and developing products in his position as Technical Director.

Groupon

One of our clients asked us to find an innovative solution so that they could use Groupon to bring in a surge of extra sales, while capturing all the customers contact information for use in follow-up marketing campaigns. They also needed a way of exporting a dispatch list of customers whilst protecting against processing the same order more than once.
This would all need to be integrated into their current website and its admin system.

First of all, what is Groupon?

Groupon is a website where visitors can find massively discounted prices on a range of products based in their city. One deal is chosen per day per city, and it’s usually 50% or 75% off the retail price, so you can imagine the mass consumer appeal.

If a customer is interested in the deal, they can buy it then and there and the next day a redeemable voucher code is sent out by email. The catch is, the deal only goes through if sales reach their target amount, otherwise the sale is not made.

So in short – customers get a huge discount on products or services that would normally cost them far more, and retailers sell on mass meaning they can still turn a profit. Not to mention the potential for repeat business through all those new customers. If the sales fall short of the target the retailer has the option to cancel the deal, so there’s no risk.

How can I make Groupon work for me?

After the deal is finished, Groupon supplies the retailer with a spreadsheet containing each of the voucher codes that have been paid for by their customers. So someone coming into the store with a code will have already paid for the product and can simply redeem it.

For online businesses it’s a little more tricky. You will need a facility to check these codes to make sure that they are valid and to only then fulfill the order. Also, since Groupon only give you a list of codes without the customers email address, phone number or even name… you can’t send them marketing messages after the sale is complete unless you capture their details somehow.

Our Groupon solution

1. We built a WordPress module from scratch which allows the administrator to import the list of Groupon codes into the system.

2. We built a new landing page on the website that Groupon customers were instructed to visit to redeem their vouchers. When customers typed their details into the form on the website, the code they entered was checked against the codes that the administrator imported into the system.

3. The user’s details are then stored in the system alongside the voucher code that they used. To make it possible to then use these details on any other system, we built an export tool that would allow administrators to download the entire list of customers and their contact details into an excel spreadsheet. They could then market to the customers via email marketing, text message marketing, direct posted mail or any other form of contact that they chose.

4. Finally, in order to make the dispatch of the product as easy as possible for the retailer, we created a second export function, which downloaded an excel spreadsheet of customer details to send tickets to. Once a customer had been exported to the spreadsheet once, they could not be exported again – This was to protect against customers being sent more tickets than they had bought.

Other Groupon questions we get asked frequently:

How can I export customer details from Groupon?
You can’t – you have to build a landing page where Groupon users will redeem their vouchers. This is where you can store customer details

How can I get the most out of Groupon?

  • Create a very simple and well explained landing page to talk users through how to redeem their vouchers.
  • Capture customer details so that you can market to them and try to convert them to regular customers. (You’ll also need a facility to export customer details once you’ve captured them, so that you can use them in any marketing tool.)
  • Ensure that you have systems in place so that you fulfill each order only once, and then mark it as complete.

Will Groupon work for me?
If you have a popular product that would work selling on mass and you can afford to give a large discount for bulk purchases, then the chances are Groupon will work for you.

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