Much has been made of the power of the internet to “disrupt” business as usual. There are definitely ways to harness technology to save money as you shop online or to earn some extra cash in your spare time. You can also look up discount codes and other ways to save on just about any purchase you care to make, in person or in cyberspace.
Which brings us to Groupon. By now you’ve surely seen these deals floating around your Facebook feed offering deep discounts on nearby goods and services. It looks like it’s too good to be true, but — as with all things — you need to know exactly what you’re getting into for Groupon to work to your advantage.
What Is Groupon, Exactly?
Groupon began in 2008 as a way for local business to work together to increase their marketing power. The idea is that small business could get more attention by joining a website that offered deals on their products and services, and this, in turn, would get people in the door to their business — hopefully leading to loyal repeat customers.
Today Groupon attracts businesses of all sizes to its service by allowing them to set up deals that are advertised of the Groupon website. Groupon specializes in local deals, so you’ll mostly see companies in your zip code when you log on. This helps businesses target their immediate client base and allows you, the customer, to zero in on deals you can actually use.
Once a business signs up with Groupon, they create a special discount for their service; say, 50 percent off of one massage. If you like that, you buy it up front by paying half price for a massage and downloading a gift certificate for that service. Groupon keeps half of the amount you paid, which leaves the local business the other half — and the responsibility to honor their deal when you’re ready to cash in.