They began the experiment at the Big Y Deal stores in Springfield, MA. It’s a $39.99 Summer Seafood Grill Pack for $24. When you hit the buy button, instead of getting a printable coupon, the deal is loaded on to your store loyalty card and automatically comes off when you check out.
That’s the theory.
I’ve been using ecoupons on my Ralphs grocery store loyalty card and it’s a very confusing process. You have to assume that most people will be doing a full shopping run, not just picking up this deal, so making sure you actually get your discount will take some effort. And can I say, $16 off? That’s the best they could do?
What all of this sounds like is that Groupon is moving away from deep discount, truly hot deals and moving into the coupon kingdom. What’s next, $1.00 off if you buy a box of Wheaties?
If you remember, not long ago, Groupon had a very popular General Mills deal that allowed you to buy a sampler pack of their products direct from the manufacturer at a great price. Can Groupon play both sides of that fence – working both direct and retail? Or perhaps they can be the middle man, creating an even deeper discount for consumers when both parties work together.
There are two upsides to linking straight to a loyalty card. One, is it prevents the fraud you often have with any type of printable coupon. Second, and maybe more importantly, it allows the store to collect data around the deal redemption. Did customers buy more than one item and did their shopping behavior change after the fact? Data is worth something, and that alone could make this a profitable shift for Groupon.