Groupon Launches DIY Deals for Local Merchants

by Dave Clarke on February 26, 2014
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Looking to attract a few of those 40 million U.S. consumers trolling for bargains on Groupon? The online-coupon giant on Feb. 10 launched a new self-service tool called DealBuilder that enables small businesses to put together their own deals.

“We’ve always had a lot of demand from merchants reaching out to us wanting to run a deal, and we weren’t always able to serve their needs,” explains Nick Halliwell, a spokesman for Groupon.

“The new platform guides merchants through a step-by-step process and enables them to choose from a series of popular deal templates (perfected from working with more than 500,000 businesses worldwide) to construct a promotion that best meets their needs.”

Once entered, a dedicated sales team vets each deal and — with the merchant’s consent — adjusts the terms based on the business’s situation and the desirability of its product or service. For example, a deal priced at $17 might be adjusted up to $19 if, based on Groupon’s experience, consumers are likely to buy it at either price point. Conversely, a deal priced at $21 might be lowered to $19 because Groupon knows the $20 threshold to be a deal-breaker for shoppers of that particular good or service.

Merchants may run an unlimited number of deals, but the DealBuilder can only handle one at a time at present. To create multiple offers, merchants will need to speak to an inbound sales representative. Groupon will not send an email blast about the local offers to its relevant, regional subscriber base, but it will make the offer searchable and available on its site.

“The deals appear in our e-commerce marketplace and can be found using relevant search terms, such as business name and type of business,” Halliwell says.

The system is available to new and existing Groupon merchants and, in most cases, a 50-50 split in revenue generally applies. “However, our margin split with merchants can vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much inventory they have available, type of business, number of times they’ve worked with Groupon, etc.,” Halliwell says.

Dave Clarke is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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