a collection of dear ammonista q+a

To Groupon or not?

Dear Ammonista,

I have a retail business outside of San Francisco and was considering using Groupon for my business, though I’ve heard mixed results. What do you think?  ~ Skeptical in San Francisco

How do I evaluate when (or if) to change my business name?  Our original name isn’t as relevant to the business as it once was – and new senior staff members are interested in changing it.  That said, I’ve always been taught that consistency is critical.  Can you weigh in?

Dear Skeptical,

Nothing's exploded in the promotional world as quickly and exponentially as group buying sites, so I get the question.  

The short answer:  It depends.

The long answer:   If you have invested the time and energy to curate a great product or service and simply want to get exposure and new people in the door, any of these group buying coupons can help reach new audiences and increase awareness and traffic to your business.  


a) you should use them sparingly so they don't become 'status quo',
b) vary the offers to educate the public about the range of your business offerings - which then provides advertising benefit whether they purchase or not and
c) provide an up-sell offer when they purchase their deal, so that you may increase some profitability of the highly-discounted offer. ]

Now, if you've not paid attention to the tending and feeding of your products or services, something as popular as Groupon can actually backfire; resulting in negative reviews, traffic stress on your business and filling your inventory with low margin, low chance of repeating clients.

This is a good time to remind you that ANY promotional discount or coupon provides short-term result and if done too frequently, you may be doing your business a disservice in the long run by eroding the value of your brand.

Bottom line? Use these tools judiciously, have a strategy, create an upsell opportunity and most importantly, follow through. You've paid handsomely for the new traffic in your doors, don't waste the opportunity to build relationships and repeat business. And if you've invested in the quality of your product or service, they will return.  ~Ammonista