You use your Groupons at local restaurants, salons, spas and entertainment forums, but chances are, you've yet to buy groceries from national chains. Groupon at the supermarket? Why not?
The deal-of-the-day giant, whose business model has stuck to local businesses thus far, appears to be embarking on a new mission in a test-run it's conducting this week. Ad Age reports that in a first for Groupon, the company is working through supermarket chain Big Y in Massachusetts to tie Groupon-style discounts into the grocery chain's supermarket loyalty cards. Big Y shoppers with a loyalty card are being offered a $39.99 seafood grill pack complete with lobster tails, clams, mussels and other seafood, all for $24. The prepaid deal is loaded into loyalty shoppers' accounts and reflected at checkout.
The Massachusetts model is expected to move Groupon into a position where it will be in direct competition with big traditional coupon players such as Valassis Communications and News Corp (News - Alert).'s SmartSource, and will potentially removes key obstacles that have kept Groupon out of the multibillion-dollar national-promotion budgets of packaged-goods marketers, said Ad Age.
It makes sense: after all, U.S. consumers spend $550 billion annually on groceries. Who wouldn't want into that kind of marketplace?
Business Insider points out another bonus of Groupon's step: it will put the company into direct competition with another local ad wunderkind: Foursquare (News - Alert).
“Foursquare's business plan from the start has been one of the holy-grails of techland: to take over the loyalty programs of small businesses and 'become' their loyalty cards,” wrote Business Insider. “Why use these annoying cardboard things where you punch holes, when you could do things through a computer and thereby know more about your customers, be able to reach them better, tailor promotions, etc?”
Groupon probably asked itself that same question not long ago. Why not indeed?
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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell