Real Quote from conversation during Superbowl*:
“I don’t care about those store owners. I got a steal on Groupon.”
* Friend talking about the one-time-only business she gives stores using Groupon.
Wow! Groupon launched (during Super Bowl LII) a new series of commercials. Actually, I’m not sure they had an old series, but that’s besides the point.
These new commercials use a young actor they think will attract their demographic to promote the idea of using Groupon at your local businesses.
You’ve probably used a Groupon or other e-coupon to get a lower price on something, or a 2-for-one meal, or get 80% off five pole-dancing classes. (OK, sorry, that was me not you: I meant yoga.)
Put your Customer Hat on
Tell me, really, did you ever buy from that store again … go back to that restaurant … or run back with your exercise mat to the studio at full price? Chances are you answered a resounding NO. There are common reasons for this:
- You were looking for a Bluetooth shower speaker and bought one from the Groupon site for $11.99, supposedly compared to $69.99 for a similar item. Did you really expect them to be the same? The speaker was loud for a full three days, and it stuck to the wall, sometimes. When the tenth fall on your hard tile floor breaks the plastic, you go out and buy the name brand.
- The restaurant was so-so and kind of far. Let’s face it, Houlihan’s gives 50% off coupons and it certainly isn’t known for above-average cuisine.
- You kind of liked the exercise studio, but when you asked about continuing, surprise! You’d have to pay double. So you went in search of another great deal. Congratulations! By their own bad choices, that studio will never bump you up to full price and has allowed a potential client to run to their competition for the next discount.
Now put your Business Hat on
Ask yourself: Is this how you want your customers to view you? A purveyor of cheap items who makes money on “volume,” or desperate to fill chairs because you’ve cut corners on quality, or someone who quite frankly is just not good enough to attract clients unless you go so low on pricing you put yourself out of business? Are you building a loyal customer base, or by making certain choices, have you sent potential customers running to your competition looking for the next bargain?
This is exactly what we advised a client about two years ago. His NYC yogurt cafe was six months old and he needed desperately to increase traffic. He was working his tail off and his wife wasn’t thrilled about how he was neglecting her, the kids, and the dogs. The cafe was in a great location on a busy main avenue. We asked what he had done to fix the problem. With all the proven strategies and techniques at hand to attract and keep customers, his answer? You guessed it: Groupon. We discussed long-term strategic options to make his business successful, but he chose not to listen, and watched as a stream of one-time-only visitors appeared and then vanished. Some even left less-than-stellar comments on the social boards.
Want to guess if his cafe is still alive?
So, getting back to Groupon’s push for local use. Who wins here? Groupon, of course, gets their piece. Coupon users save money. That leaves you and your business. You may get a temporary spike, but will it last? And how does it convert to profitable margins in the future? Can you afford to offer your services at below-market forever? There are definitely better roads to take in your marketing.