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E-Commerce: Groupon 4 May 2010

Posted by nsiegel922 in Design, e-commerce, Examples, Websites.
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About:

Groupon offers one deal a day to local US markets.  Users have the opportunity to buy these daily Groupons which offer services and products for local businesses at a discounted rate.  Groupon’s goal is to offer compelling deals that entice site visitors to make a purchase (there is a minimum necessary for the deal to actually go through).  To create loyal users who serve as brand evangelists by promoting the site through word of mouth (Groupon offers referral incentives).  The higher the success rate, the easier it is to get other local businesses on board.

Similarities/Differences:

While Groupon is an E-Commerce site, it definitely differs from the typical traditional online retailer.   There is only one deal of the day per city, so there are really no other selections available for purchase outside of what is being offered that day.  Compared to the other E-Commerce sites I reviewed, Groupon stood out as being the most visually appealing.

Strengths:

Aesthetically, Groupon’s site is very visually appealing.  The gray, sky blue and olive green coloring works very well together.  The site is easily shareable – the “share this” icon is easy to find and use. Each Groupon has the fine print and highlights bolded and summarized up top so that skimmers can quickly get the gist of the deal without reading the description blurb at the bottom.  The buying process is very simple, and once a user makes his/her first purchase, each proceeding purchase becomes even easier as their information is saved in the system.  Upon purchasing a Groupon, there are incentives if shoppers’ friends buy the same one, which makes the “share this” icon quite popular.  Managing purchased Groupons is simple in the “My Stuff” tab.  Purchase and expiration date as well as Groupon details are included so the user knows when the deal needs to be used by.

Groupon also leverages customer feedback from review sites such as Yelp in case readers are curious about a service or product first-hand.

Weaknesses/Recommendations:

First of all, you can’t just go to a general Groupon page – the pages are all city specific which could be confusing to first time users.  Also, the Groupon timer doesn’t specify a time zone for the expiration time (time you have to purchase Groupon).  If you are in Seattle but subscribe to a Chicago Groupon, do you have until midnight CST or PST?  Lastly, referrals and WOM are obviously a large source of business for Groupon, but the section about incentives for referring friends is rather confusing.  It is unclear as to whether the user gets a $10 Groupon credit just for referring a friend, or, if that friend needs to make a purchase for the $10 credit to be given.

Summary:

Overall, Groupon’s site is designed very well and is conducive to the savvy, yet busy online media consumer who is looking to save money without exerting tons of effort.

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