Not just for consumers- benefits businesses, too

Groupon Launches In Fort Wayne

By Valerie Caviglia

Groupon Launches In Fort Wayne

August 8, 2010 Updated Aug 8, 2010 at 2:04 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The next time you check your e-mail, you could be in for a big discount. That is of course, if you sign up for the newest coupon program in Fort Wayne.

You may have seen it advertised on some of your favorite Web sites. Groupon.com is a daily deal notification sent to a subscriber's registered e-mail address. These discounts range from 50 to 90 percent off of meals, activities, retail and more.

"It's just a great thing," said Melissa Skeel, a Fort Wayne resident already taking advantage of the daily deals. "Especially for the Fort Wayne area because there are so many restaurants and you tend to forget about some of them."

"When I heard it was coming to Fort Wayne, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to kind of draw in some new customers," said Cristina Ray, co-owner and general manager of the El Azteca restaurant on East State Boulevard. "Not only that, but to remind other customers that, 'Hey, we're still here."

Groupon calls it collective buying power- by promising businesses a minimum number of customers, it can provide steep discounts. To get the deal, the consumer checks their daily e-mail. If they like the deal, they click "BUY" before the offer ends at midnight. If the minimum number of people sign up (agreed upon by Groupon and the business owner), Groupon will charge the consumer's credit card and send out a link to print the Groupon. If there are not enough participants in the deal, no one receives it and no one is charged.

This is primarily why Groupon.com has seen so much success on social media Web sites. "Facebook is how you really connect with other people in relation to the deal," said Skeel. "So, if there is a deal you 'Facebook-like' and share that with all of your friends, they can hear about it."

Ray said El Azteca agreed to go through with the deal if at least 40 coupons were sold. "Well, we sold 40 by 7:58 a.m. that day," she said, smiling. "We ended up selling 982."

Selling products for less than one normally would might confuse some business owners. But Ray decided to take the risk and clearly reaped the benefits.

"Yes, we were giving away $15 dollars, but I think the biggest part is this- we want to draw in the people," Ray said. "Maybe they will bring two or three other people. Maybe they have never dined with us before. So if they like it, they are going to come back to us."

In an economic climate that has proven difficult for some small and large businesses alike, a new way to get consumers in the door is no doubt enticing to business owners.

"I absolutely think it could completely stimulate our local economy and the smaller establishments, especially the Mom-and-Pop places that people tend to forget about," said Skeel.

Ray sees the benefit for consumers just as much as the establishment owner. "Everybody is looking for a deal. It's not the greatest time for a lot of people, so if I can help some people out so that they can come in and have a nice dinner, I will."

Groupon started in November 2008. To sign up for the daily deal, visit www.groupon.com.

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