Besides the possible new customers, transactions and, hopefully, loyalty that might come from doing Groupon deals, there’s another by-product that businesses should consider. That by-product is the reviews left on social media sites. I just came across a study that was done by a Boston University computer sciences associate professor, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale and a Harvard University computer science professor and the study is thorough but not pretty. John Byers (BU), Georgios Zervas (Yale) and Michael Mitzenmacher (Harvard) researched a huge amount of data over a six month period and they found that the reviews that could be tied to the Groupon deals were not as strong as those that weren’t.
They monitored 16,692 deals over six months in 20 cities and also collected data on Facebook, Living Social and Yelp and found that those who used the word “Groupon” or “coupon” gave “strikingly lower rating scores.”
It got me thinking further about the connotations that might come from a business running a deal on Groupon – is it now being considered an act of desperation to drive revenue by consumers? Do they feel that they are getting cut-rate services for the cut-rate costs of those services or experiences? Perhaps businesses need to think deeply about whether they want to risk consumers thinking they are struggling as opposed to just marketing their product. Or, could it be that their staff is providing a different experience for those who are coming in with Groupon certificates? If the experience is not the same, than you have absolutely negated your entire reason for offering the deal in the first place.
Whichever way you look at it, this is just one more consideration that needs to be made when determining whether your business should be offering Groupon deals. Be sure to weigh how you are representing your business in relation to Groupon – or any other deal site – to make sure that your original intentions don’t backfire.