If it weren’t already clear that the lines between e-commerce and physical vendors were blurring, it should be now. Daily deals site Groupon is reportedly in talks with cash register manufacturers to develop machines with Groupon buttons in place.
According to Bloomberg, Groupon has met with various electronic-payment system companies (including Verifone Systems – the second largest manufacturer in the industry) and believes adding the designated online coupon button would make transactions quicker and easier to cashiers and customers alike. Groupon president Rob Solomon even tells Bloomberg that the wheels are in motion and the company will begin testing the feature on cash registers, although he refrained from saying when that would begin. “We are in an evaluation mode. Test and learn is the best way to do this,” Solomon says.
While a Groupon button would increase vendor and patron convenience, there’s a much more crucial effect of the hardware upgrade. As Groupon continues to grow and gain subscribers, so have reports about businesses ill-equipped to meet the demands of customers bearing discounts from the daily deals site. Especially small businesses have had trouble not only with the influx of customers but with processing the discounts correctly. Streamlining the entire thing could help alleviate this issue, and of course there are larger benefits for Groupon. By being pre-programmed into the cash registers of local businesses, it could become the daily deal site of choice for these merchants to turn to when they offer the digitally circulated discounts. And of course, cautious business owners who have yet to explore this arena might be more tempted seeing a designated Groupon button right at home on their in-store registers.
The market is quickly becoming crowded: LivingSocial is very ably challenging Groupon, and now every content site under the sun is creating its very own clone. If Groupon is able to secure an exclusive spot on the registers of local businesses it would give itself an advantage over the competition.
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