Last week, Groupon members got a great deal, $50 worth of clothing at The Gap for only $25. More than 440,000 subscribers took advantage of the deal and they did it so quickly, they temporarily stalled the servers at the popular new deal site.
Part of the reason for the huge influx was that it wasn’t just Groupon members who were clicking. Shortly after the deal was announced, the news spread over thousands of mommy blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. I came across more than twenty mentions of the deal during my usual travels around the web and it looks like I was one of the rare few who resisted. Still, I’d venture to say that Groupon got a lot of new signups that day.
The site, which is known for delivering hyperlocal deals, got its first big taste of stardom and Groupon President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Solomon is ready for another big bite. In a recent interview with Reuters,Solomon says that he’s not changing the business model. . . completely.
“There’s a lot of room to remain hyper-local, but . . . Gap is a testament to demand for the big guys.”
Unfortunately, the small company may not be ready for the big leagues just yet. Solomon says that the site takes a large amount of manpower. He knows that they’ll have to find a way to automate things if they want to pull in the big brands and still turn a profit.
The trouble may come if Groupon tries to grow too big too fast. It’s obvious that they didn’t anticipate the kind of traffic they got with The Gap deal and they’re lucky that they didn’t end up with a large outage as a result. Nothing frustrates a deal seeker more than hitting a page that won’t load.
What’s really interesting about this whole scenario is that for a year now everyone’s been talking local, local, local. So here’s a site that was created to fill that need and yet their first big, site breaking, wow moment is on a national coupon. It’s enough to make you wonder if any site can survive on just local alone.