Discounts, last-minute deals, limited time offers, coupons, and sales. Those are the most popular and cherished sales promotion tools in e-commerce and offline retail sector. Most people adore them and customers are eager to max out the saving through such promotion channels.
Surprisingly, cutoffs in prices are beneficial for both sides: consumers and sellers. But what makes these tools of the promotional mix even more interesting is that they can be used by third-parties and mediators for their own benefit. Groupon took advantage of that feature and grew its business into a worldwide e-commerce marketplace with over 3 billion in revenue.
Hopefully, you can accomplish such results too. But you’ll need to do something extra that just create an app like Groupon. First, you’ll need to get an understanding of the inner machinery of Groupon in order to grow your own unique mobile app.
- Websites like Groupon
- Groupon Business Model
- Coupon Mechanism
- Alternative Monetization Models
- How to Create an App Like Groupon
- UI/UX Design Tips for Coupon Website
- Useful Features for Coupon Aggregator
Websites like Groupon
There are many websites and apps like Groupon. You can find an app like Groupon for beauty, various Amazon apps like Groupon, and special offer website in each country, where e-commerce exists.
Here are the most popular platforms, that were able to get required traction and fight their place under the sun.
- RetailMeNot – 28.6M Monthly Visits.
- LivingSocial – 650K Monthly Visits.
- Woot! – 9.56M Monthly Visits
- Luxury Escapes – 590K Monthly Visits.
- Fave – 570K Monthly Visits.
If you take a closer look at these platforms you’ll notice that most of them are highly specialized and focused on the specific goods like gadgets, clothes, jewelry, lux resorts, etc. Choose your niche carefully, let it be as narrow as possible! This would be our first advice, we continue to repeat.
Groupon Business Model Overview
Now let’s get into finances, revenue streams, and business models of Groupon like mobile apps and websites. How does Groupon make money?
The system leverages the margins of quantity discounts (wholesale discounts). Simple as that!
In essence, Groupon connects the group of buyers interested in the certain product and the seller, who is ready to provide the product for a reduced price. That basically explains how Groupon’s naming was born, which is a blend of two words “group” and “coupon”.
Ok, let’s assume you’ve gathered your first group of buyers, but how do you prove that to the seller? That’s where coupons come into play.
In order to secure the demand (number of interested buyers) the company created coupons. Those are kind of assurance contracts. Coupons are needed to measure the interest for the specific products and to monetize the platform. A part of profits from coupon sales goes to Groupon and part to the seller. At first, there was a 50/50 distribution, now it dynamically changes depending on the number of factors.
One important thing about Groupon’s business model to note is that it features local deals instead of products that are available worldwide. This practice ensures that buyers are really interested in services and will attend places in the near future. You can even try to sell some FMCG products, like farmers’ goods, just ensure to keep your geography tight so the logistics can catch up with it. Moreover, it greatly helps in SEO, because Google prefers to serve “local” content over global-oriented websites.
Alternative Monetization Models
- Commision Based Model – This model can work both with and without coupons at all. The profits here are generated through the commission. Sellers may pay for a number of visits or purchases. You can also use affiliate monetization tactics to get money from a certain number of clicks. Such tactics are highly popular among price aggregators and booking platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com, or Luxury Escapes.
- Up-Sales and Cross-Sales – Your app can generate additional revenue stream through up-sales of gift boxes, special discounts, limited deals, and bundles. Groupon uses it to promote more advanced sitting tours or increase the time of the spa visit.
- Exclusive Deals – As your app will grow the loyal audience you may also experiment with special deals for loyal members or exclusive offers that are available only with a purchase of special coupon. Just make sure to provide relevant value for money.
How to make your own App Like Groupon?
At the heart of any Groupon-like website sits a really basic e-commerce store, with little difference: it sells coupons instead of products. This is from where you can start building your coupon mobile app – e-commerce store.
There are two different approaches to how you’ll grow a catalog of your coupon website.
Curated Content – All offers you provide are listed and prepared only by your content management team. Meaning, if a new seller is willing to place his offer on your website, he will be only asked to supply you with a raw content. Then your content managers will make maximum of it, get additional pictures, refine service description, find reviews, etc.
This is a preferable approach for the first stages of platform grows. It requires fewer efforts during the development of admin panel because all the content management will be done manually by hired workers. Plus, you’ll have a room for maneuver. You can experiment with different content formats and find the one which gives a better conversion rate.
Moderated Content – according to this approach all the information on the service will be issued and placed by the seller himself. Just like it happens across all marketplaces. The sellers get access to the admin panel and fill in all required fields, then you review the information, check it against your quality standards and submit it.
Moderated Content approach requires well-developed admin panel. Basically, it requires building a full-fledged CMS system like WordPress. Such approach suits for trusted coupon websites that have already gained traction, or niche products like this Surf&Yoga webportal we’ve made.
UI/UX Design Tips for Coupon Website
- Engaging Badges & Activations
A well thought-out system of discounts is one the core values of any Groupon like apps. Put maximum care to the badges and countdown timers. You can even build a hierarchy for all types of special offers your platform will provide. Structure badges based on their importance, and design icons accordingly.
The most important thing here is to not overload your platforms with flashy icons and screaming colors. You should put maximum attention to mockup design. We strongly advise you to check our article on common mistakes during mockup design.
- Product Centered Coupon Cards
A special place in platforms’ structure sits content and description of the products. Groupon used the army of content writers in order to create such massive and high-conversion web platform.
10 years past the invention of Groupon, the service still may sound confusing to many of your customers. That’s why we advise you to adhere to a policy of full transparency. Place Terms & Conditions on every page, at least the short version of it. Keep it simple and fair.
Learn more about Payment Gateway Integration Into an App
Useful Features for Coupon Aggregator
Countdowns Generator – Timers generator is a must-have thing for any coupon website. It will drive your sales and save a lot of time for your content management team.
Mass Payment Gateways – A payment gateway is an obligatory functionality for any e-commerce project. But as your platform will grow bigger, there will be too many sellers to keep track of everyone. That’s why we advise you to develop a mass payment functionality in advance.
Accounting & Statistics – Provide your sellers with access to the internal analytics so they could see the results of their marketing efforts on your platform.
Tracking Code Generator – This feature will save you a lot of time. UTM-mark is a common marketing tool used for tracking of traffic and leads. This tool will help you and your sellers to track traffic, find out best sources, and cross-check your analytics against one that sellers have.
Building a coupon website or an app like Groupon is a complicated, multi-step process. It’s like any other business. You should put your efforts in many different aspects, starting from finances, and ending with a color palette. Here we just put a dent in the topic. But don’t be afraid of getting into the process. We’ve got you covered!
Already have an awesome app idea?