How Groupons Will Change The World

We are watching a revolution take place.  A huge shift in the decades long processes and societal norms.  Groupon, and other companies like it, are completely changing the way consumers, and the businesses that cater to consumers, make their purchases.

Thinking abstract, the skeletal backbone of marketing and consumer decisions are based on the classic 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.   The sudden change, that marketing school never saw coming, is a 5th P: Process.  This change, being led by the Groupons of the world, will have an immeasurable effect on how consumers do their purchasing and how companies do their business.

Currently, a transaction of money from consumers and product/service from companies consists of a very straightforward process: the consumer has a need, chooses a provider to satisfy that need, receives a service or product from that provider, and then pays for those services.  It’s a process where the consumer CHOOSES the services, RECEIVES the services, then PAYING the services.

This is being changed.  Now.

The new process that businesses must adapt to has the consumer paying for services before they are provided.  Based on what is already happening, this step of payment for services can actually happen at any stage of the purchasing process, even before the consumer actually has realized a need for the specific service or product. A consumer buys a “Groupon” for a future service.  Usually, this purchase is for a product or service the user has never even had before. It’s a great way for the consumer to try new restaurants, stores, and anything else they choose. It’s also a great way for companies to acquire new customers very quickly, at a scale never seen before.

Companies must be very, very careful.

My rule for a successful business, whether they are a product, service, retail, or website, is that you maximize new customers, make them happy, and most of all, make them come back.  The market that companies tap in to when providing an online coupon is a very unique market.  Not that they are typically known as the ‘deal-hunters’, but because the process of payment is totally changed compared to 90 % of the standard purchases.  So with the influx of these new customers, how can a company make them come back at regular (more profitable) pricing?

It’s something to think about, but in my opinion, these consumers must be differentiated from the typical consumer.  They are the ones where promotion and price are much, much more important than product or placement in the marketing aspect.  Be careful, when reaching out to them, and have a specific plan in practice to transfer these ‘dealhunter’ customers to real customers.

1 Comment

George Lowry
December 15, 2010
at 9:07 am

I have a Man Crush on you Matt! How’s the tennis game?

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