The following are notes taken from the session “How Groupon MR Fuels Products and Programs ”, by Eric Rasmussen (Groupon) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.
A video interview with Eric is below:
- Almost everyone in the audience is a Groupon user.
- One of Eric’s pet peeves is calling it a “coupon site”, sees it as buying gift cards, to introduce customers to businesses, so customers can try something without the risk.
- Expanded to national brands, deals, goods, travel.
- Groupon is the Global Leader in Local Commerce
- Worldwide: 200 million + subscribers, 51 million active customers, 500+ markets, 600M + deals sold, $5b+ in annual billings, 12,000+ global employees.
Why did he join?
- When he was at Shutterfly, Eric’s manager wanted him to research whether to go on Groupon would make sense.
- Most of the Shutterfly promotions would be selling to regular customers, did little to attract new and lapsed users.
- But for Groupon, pie split fairly evenly between new, current and lapsed users. Eric’s conclusion was that Shutterfly should continue using Groupon.
- Was helping a friend who ran a Yoga Studio in Palo Alto. He was teaching a 6:30 am class, but was only getting one or two people — thought it would not last very much. Owner used Groupon, went from one to 30 per class. After Groupon was over, levelled off to about 17 per class, and she ended up opening up two other studios.
- As a result he was convinced about their business model, and went to Groupon when he was called by a headhunter.
- Using MR as internal education (who and why people use Groupon)
- External education (spreading the word)
Usually Groupon has about 12 research studies going on at any one time.
- Merchants #1 wish — new customers, want affluent, social, influencer, adventurous, repeat visitor
- Group demo profile — educated, affluent, social, influencer, adventurous, repeat visitor
- Perfect match
- While the discount is important — Discovery and Supporting local businesses are very important for 2/3 of Groupon buyers
- Groupon has become the “discovery engine”, delighting consumers and supporting local businesses
Groupon users are:
- 83% were motivated by Groupon to visit and purchase
- 54% of respondents brought companions
- 4 out of 10 of companions made a purchase
- 61% report improvement in merchant perception
Saks’ Off Fifth:
- 64% of users of the promotion had improved perceptions of brand, 1% had worse impressions
- 15% would have bought anyway
- 50% brought a companion, who spent on average of $150
- Now selling platforms
- Seems odd, because profile of gamers does not really align with Groupon’s users
- Wanted to see if lift was incremental or selling to same users
- Research: 57% bought as gift – sales they wouldn’t have had otherwise
- industry has changed, become commoditized with online sales, as people now go to the discount sites and not the hotel site
- Result: hotels have to pay a fee to sites, and margin shrinks
- Most of the travel sites are used for price comparison
- Most online bookings are booked by people who were planning to go there anyway
- For people who book vacations on Groupon, only 18% would have booked it anyway, for the rest travel purchase is unplanned
- In B2B, tools that help you with your business benchmark is 64, whereas Groupon merchants number is 74.
- With Groupon consumers, benchmark is very close to Apple
- With Merchant Satisfaction, the more that people track Groupon results, the more they tend to like it
Gave a credit card swiper to some of their merchants — most didn’t like their payment system. Made it cheaper for merchants, Gnome acted as a clearance for campaigns, point of sale, payments with Groupon.
-traditional moves from awareness to consideration to conversion to loyalty to advocacy
- brand impressions
- in-store over-spend
- customer list
- comparing spend, repeat & recommend
- lapsers regained
- Repeat customers
1. Focus on research that can make a difference
- what are the decisions that will be made from the research
- will the research be done in time
2. Anticipate questions so you have answers
- Think about the upcoming initiatives and be proactive
- Ask the “evergreen” questions regular (core user attitudes, comp landscape, ext)
3. Set timing expectations early
- Think globally — use smaller markets as test areas