Groupon hopes to win over brands with profile pages launch

Groupon is planning to launch merchant pages that will enable brands to have a presence on the site even if they don’t have a deal running as part of a raft of changes aimed at pulling more people to its site rather than relying on daily email blasts.

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The pages, which launch later this year, will include a range of content such as location details or tips on where it is best to sit in a restaurant, as well as special offers that might not be a Groupon deal but are still available on their websites or in stores. Groupon says it will work with bigger brands to create content, while offering a self-serve platform for smaller companies wanting to create their own page.

Tamer Tamar, vice president at Groupon in EMEA, told Marketing Week that Groupon is keen to work with more big brands having recently launched deals with Starbucks, O2 and Harry Potter Studios. He says this is part of Groupon’s brand building as it looks to boost perceptions of the brand.

The move is part of a wider shift at Groupon to “pull” people to its site rather than having to rely on pushing out deal notifications via email. The change includes the launch of a revamped website and mobile apps across Europe.

The redesign introduces a search function, as well as filters that will sort the deals into categories that are easier to navigate. Tamar says the move is aimed at making the site easier and more attractive for brands to use, as well as simpler for customers to find deals from brands they are interested in.

“We are trying to balance the push and pull aspects of the service. The pull part is the new website and letting people know they don’t have to search through lots of deals to find one that works for them. There are lots of people that love to scroll through deals but there also many that would rather search,” he says.

Groupon has seen visitors to its site decline over the past year. Figures from comScore show unique traffic fell 15 per cent year on year to 4.97 million in June. Around 10 per cent of its traffic comes direct to the website, with the rest coming from its emails.

Groupon is in the middle of shifting its business from daily deals to an online marketplace. Tamar says the new site will position Groupon as the first place consumers come to when they need to buy a product, rather than waiting for a deal they might be interested in.

That will be supported by a campaign that will include the new strapline “Think Groupon First” for the first time in the UK. Tamar says Groupon plans to spend more time and money communicating its proposition offline to “shout about who we are and what we do”.

It will also give more prominence to editorial content and images, offering visitors a “different flavour” to the site, as well as improving personalisation using its “goldmine” of data on subscribers’ interests. The aim, he says, is to become a major ecommerce player like Amazon or eBay.

Groupon has done a lot of work to improve the variety of its inventory over the past 12 months, moving away from services and into areas such as travel and consumer electronics. That has helped the firm increase its revenues, which were up 23 per cent to $751.6m overall and 42 per cent in EMEA in the second quarter.

However, the firm also posted a wider loss of $22.9m as spending increased, in particular on marketing.

Groupon launched the revamped website in the US in November and Tamar claims it has already seen a positive response from consumers. That includes a higher conversion rate and an increase in average customer spend, particularly among the 10 per cent of website visitors that used the search function.

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