Groupon is *Not* The Anti-CRM

I saw a blog post in CRMOutsiders written by Chris Buchholtz yesterday titled “Groupon: the Opposite of CRM” that essentially stated that “Groupon is the anti-CRM” and makes for undesirable customers.

I strongly disagree – Groupon is the anti-CRM only if companies do a poor job of managing the consumer and process.

For the uninitiated, Groupon is a locally-based group buying site that combines the power of crowds to deliver daily deals offering up to 50% off services and products.  According to the Groupon ‘tote board’, more than 46 million offers have been purchased saving consumers $1.9 billion.  Companies participating in Groupon offers typically split the offering price 50/50 with Groupon – which means that an offer that is used will generate about 25 cents on the dollar to the offering company.

While there are many consumers who use Groupon solely to get good deals, there are many things that a business can do to keep it from becoming an anti-CRM experience.   By using standard customer relationship best practices, introducing consumers to your brand and products can be a profitable and repeatable experience.  Essentially, the key is to turn Groupon into a very targeted lead generation tool that differs from online ads because you actually get to interact with a new consumer to demonstrate why they need your product or service.

  • Gather data – While Groupon will not share email addresses with you, that does not stop you from getting consumers to sign up for your email or newsletter list.  Tell them about your Facebook fan page or Twitter feed.  Use every effort to get the consumer to share information with you as part of the ‘deal’ that you are providing them.
  • Upsell – You are not limited to just selling the Groupon offer to the consumers who are using the service.  Show them other options and how other products or services will enhance their purchase.
  • Engage – As with any customer interaction, use the Groupon experience to learn more about your customer and start developing a relationship.  Ask them questions, have them share their experience with their friends and social networks, get them to share additional information and learn how you can serve them better in the future.
  • Train your staff – If you are going to use Groupon, you need to make sure that all of your frontline employees understand the process and the objectives of the offer.  Give them tips and tricks to gather data and upsell.
  • Leverage the buzz – Groupon can generate significant buzz for your brand so make sure that you can leverage that buzz on your website, Facebook page and on other social media outlets such as Twitter.  For some companies, the buzz by itself is worth the effort and expense.

Groupon may not be for all businesses, but it can be worthwhile if CRM best practices are followed.  In the same vein, I also found several other resources that have great tips for getting the most out of Groupon:

To learn more about Groupon for your business, visit the Groupon Works section on their website.

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