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September 28, 2011

Groupon launches - Groupon Goods!! - One big step towards becoming a marketplace

Way back on September 12th, I theorized that Groupon could replicate some daily deal/physical product (non-local/non-voucher) deals in the US.  Today Groupon has launched Groupon Goods and it looks to be an even stronger entrant than what we saw in the UK.

 

Groupon Goods walk through

My first impression is that Groupon has really nailed the UX on this offering and I wanted to give you a walk through to see just how easy they have made it to buy on this marketplace.  Click on any image to enlarge it - I have kept them small for readability.

Here's the email that you get from Groupon Goods.  Since this is day one, I'm not sure if this is weekly or daily:

Gg_one
You can see that there are:

  • Five deals today
  • A range of ASPs - $40-440
  • A variety of discount levels (59%-20%)

Also note that the underlying retailer is mentioned in each deal.

Once you click on a deal you are taken to a product detail page with more information:

Gg_three
Note that Groupon also links right to the merchant's site where you can learn more. Once you click the very large BUY button, you are taken to a purchase summary+login page:

Gg_four

If you are already one of the > 130m active Groupon subscribers, you can login with your groupon or FB credentials and your stored CC is auto-loaded (black out here of course is my doing)

Gg_five

Once you hit "Complete Order" you are taken to a typical Groupon 'Order Confirm' pop-up with lots of opportunities for social sharing.


Gg_six

So there you have it - three easy steps:

  1. Click buy
  2. Login
  3. Confirm

Where does Groupon Goods go from here?

We're at the first step of this offering, but you can see a very possible path that it could take:

  • Groupon Goods (GG) permeates the Groupon experience - Inbound nav to GG should start popping up on the main site, in local deal emails and all the Groupon mobile footprint which is substantial.
  • More deals - The number of deals increases from 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.
  • Persistent deals - It's not clear yet how this works, but many of these deal sites (think Woot, etc.) tend to realize that you can increase conversions by having more deals and having them last longer (e.g. be persistent vs. just 24hrs) so then deals stay around, you add a search experience and a taxonomy for search/browse.
  • Groupon Goods - the marketplace - Then the next step is why not just let merchants list their products in an un-curated fashion and let consumers pick which deals are best.  Then the marketplace self-curates or you have a mix of Groupon curated and user-curated deals.  Kind of like Groupon Now, but for general items.

What does this mean to the E-commerce ecosystem?

As I wrote earlier, I think this is a big deal, potentially Groupon could rapidly create a $4B+ GMV marketplace very quickly.  The implications are:

  • LivingSocial - LS is a distant #2 to Groupon and is already testing a system like this in the UK themselves.  They will need to accelerate and bring that program to the US ASAP to keep up with Groupon's momentum. (see also - Amazon).
  • eBay/Walmart - they are focused on that value consumer and I believe Groupon Goods will take share from them the most vs. other players.
  • Amazon - Not a huge deal IMO as Amazon isn't really after that value consumer.  There could be some slight cannibalization, but I see eBay and Walmart taking the brunt of that.  That being said, it will be interesting to see if Amazon helps LivingSocial with deals in the US or if they distance as these sites become less about local and more about Amazon's sweet spot - national physical goods.
  • Google - Google is playing major catch up with their local deals offering, this creates another gap.  Will Google work on their one physical product goods?  So far they have been very resistant to get this close to the consumer, but with the upgrades at Google Product Search and the Trusted Merchant program, they are making some noise they are getting closer.  Perhaps this tips them over the edge.  With Amazon Prime and now Groupon Goods, there are more and 
  • Facebook - They are getting out of the local deals space, perhaps this pushes them to enter the easier and probably more lucrative daily physical deals space.  They could leverage their 800m users and the FB credits system.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure - I am long Amazon and Google. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.

 

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