Google failed to offer Groupon a good enough deal for a buyout, but that isn’t stopping the search giant from starting its own competing service. Google Offers will “is a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email,” says a factsheet Mashable obtained. The new service will look and run similarly to other coupon sites like LivingSocial and Groupon. Basically, you sign up for it and Google will send you a daily email of big discounts in your area. The services run on the power of numbers. Local retailers and companies sign up and give huge discounts on items knowing that they’ll get a giant boost in customers.
The difficult part of the job, unfortunately, is how much staff it takes to court small, local businesses around the country to participate. Groupon has a sizable sales staff of 2,000-3,000 that continues to expand as new cities and towns are added, cutting into potential profits for the company. Google already has the technical aspects in place (Google Checkout, etc), but to compete, it will have to add a similarly large sales team to court local companies.
The program is still in testing, but Google confirmed that the factsheet is legitimate, giving the following statement to Mashable: “Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.”
A few months ago, Google tried to purchase Groupon for about $5.3 billion, but the coupon site rejected the offer and used the hype around the sale to spur investment. It is on track for a $15 billion or so initial public offering (IPO) in the near future, some speculate.