Big Thinking/Re-Thinking Groupon: Local Onliner talks with CEO Rich Williams

Groupon is at a crossroads. The company remains a deals leader with a huge volume of customers (25 million in the US; 50 million worldwide) and one million merchants. But the company is seen as yesterday’s news by many, even as it keeps doing solid business and pivots from email to an always on, discovery-based marketplace. … Read more

Are Loyalty Programs Getting Lost in the Shuffle?

A wide range of innovative loyalty programs are in the marketplace, and they report impressive ROI and user engagement. But are they a high priority for retailers? Many retailers (and their agencies) have been slow to commit to loyalty programs. At ShopTalk in Las Vegas May 16-18, loyalty programs seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle … Read more

From The Crypt: LivingSocial’s Lessons For ‘The Experience Economy’

Deal-a-day pioneer LivingSocial is being sold to Groupon for a “non material” price. LivingSocial’s eventual failure had been widely anticipated. Amazon, its largest backer, had written off its $175 Million investment in 2013. The company, once valued at more than $2 billion, had suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of losses due to the high cost of local sales … Read more

SMBs Are Stalled with FinTech; Its Long-Term Influence Remains Inevitable

As Money2020 concludes its 5th big show focusing on the new role of tech-based services in payments and marketing, FinTech has stalled for the SMB marketing channel. Once thought of as a game changer and disrupter for SMB marketing – and a key component in their very real move towards CRM — FinTech hasn’t really moved the … Read more

Local’s Spreebird Broadening its Approach to Deals

Local Corp. has branched out in several directions in an effort to leverage its local platform. It has recently acquired Krillion (retail and product search) and Rovion (rich media platform and integration). Another major effort is its development of Spreebird, a deals company being built on top of its acquisition of Southern California’s Screamin’ Deals. Spreebird has been mostly differentiated in … Read more

ILM East: Ted Leonsis – Local’s All About Scale, ‘New Currencies’

Ted Leonsis, Groupon Vice Chair, American Express Board Member and Internet Pioneer , emphasized the importance of scaling for local in a global economy during a keynote at ILM East yesterday. “Indiana really matters. India matters more,” said Leonsis, pointing out that for larger companies, most growth will come from outside the U.S. The way … Read more

Loyalty Debate: ‘Collective Currency’ or Solo Destination?

Two schools of thought have broken out about loyalty programs. The first is to build a collective currency for points or other loyalty incentives that can be used anywhere in the network. This is the approach taken by players such as Cartera, Edo, Mogl, Local Bonus and numerous others covering the gamut. The second is to work specifically with merchants … Read more

Groupon Bets on Merchant Services: A Conversation with Mihir Shah

Groupon founder Andrew Mason’s concept of Groupon as “the operating system for local commerce,” had a certain catch to is, but what does it actually mean in practice? That’s the challenge being addressed by Groupon’s “Breadcrumb” team in Silicon Valley, which has rolled out a suite of services for restaurants and now, other verticals. Groupon is … Read more