Understandably, there's a lot of talk right now about Groupon. Part of me thinks that the company's IPO was over-inflated in the first place -- great if you want to get rich fast, but bad for the business in the long run. Nevertheless, in my point of view, Groupon's story is also a very sad tale in marketing too. Here's my little diagnosis.
Groupon in its heyday was a "disruptive" service riding the wave of a new emerging "power to the people" culture brought about by the web. And in terms of what you got, it gave the user "wowchers" to pretty colorful experiences that you wouldn't normally ever think of. There was a sense of pride, excitement and "I'm beating the system" that you and your friends used to feel. But that's now gone.
Sadly, now, Groupon has lost its pizzazz, its currency and feels absent from the webisphere, except when it spams with unsurprising deals. Today it operates in categories where it offers no advantage in terms of credibility, range of products, experience, customer service and even price. I'd shop at Expedia any day over Groupon for a holiday. And Amazon for a deal on a kettle.
And for a company that rode a tech wave, they've now left it behind. Think location-enabled Priority Moments from 02 and what near-field communication technology will do to "personalize deals and exclusives" in the very close future; Groupon is simply not there.
Groupon needs to get back in touch with what made it a phenomenon in the first place, rediscover what it stands for and innovate like crazy around that.