I’ve often thought that the one thing keeping Groupon from being a total success is the lack of a specific cash register made to handle Groupon coupons.
No, I’ve never actually thought that, but someone did and now there’s Gnome – a tablet-based, point-of-sale device specifically designed for businesses who promote through Groupon.
The tablet will let merchants instantly recognize their Groupon customers as they enter their business, seamlessly redeem Groupons and save time and money with a simple point of-sale system and credit card payment processing service.
Really? There are enough merchants using Groupon coupons on a regular basis that they need a system like this? Okay, maybe NEED is too strong a word. How about want? And what if you don’t ‘want’? Doesn’t matter. Word around the farm is that Groupon is going to (gently) insist that any merchant who works with Groupon, use Gnome to process their transactions.
Sounds kind of pushy? So what’s in it for us?
It will cost $10 a month to license the machine and I hear the payment processing fees will be lower than average, so this isn’t a money-maker for Groupon. That could add up to real savings for a small merchant.
The bigger plus is the fact that the system works as a customer management system as well as a cash register. The system tracks customer data including purchase history and preferences, so merchants can create customized marketing campaigns that really speak to their loyal visitors. The machine also allows merchants to share customer feedback and respond to feedback via Facebook and Twitter.
The Gnome website also outlines the benefits to shoppers – the big one being that they don’t have to print out Groupon vouchers to redeem them. Since it hooks into the Groupon website, all you need is the customer’s name to find their voucher and redeem it. Groupon also reminds shoppers that when a merchant values you, they learn more about you and in return you should support stores that use the new Gnome machine. (And boycott those who don’t?)
This whole business is Groupon taking another step away from their roots as a Daily Deal site. The concept is good, not wildly different, but solid. But I still have to ask the question – are there that many merchants using Groupon enough that it’s worth buying a specific POS system just to make that end of the business easier? Seems like a leap to me. What am I missing?