Groupon tries to solve its biggest problem with loyalty rewards

grouponSay what you will about Groupon, but it’s managed to stay on top of the daily deals game despite the mass amount of bad press concerning its bumpy IPO process. The coupon curator market might be oversaturated, but the veteran service has remained the top stop among its various competitors since day one.

And now it’s branching into loyalty rewards, stepping into territory previously held by rivals that differentiated themselves by being based on this service. The likes of Foursquare and Gowalla were the original purveyors of rewarding consumers for their local tastes, and when they caught whiff of the massive industry shift Groupon was creating, neither hesitated to jump on that train and take part in daily deals.

Now Groupon’s returning the favor by incorporating a rewards-for-returning program into its service. “Consumers can earn rewards at participating merchants simply by paying with the credit or debit card hey have on file at After spending an amount set by the merchant, the consumer unlocks the ability to purchase a special Groupon for that business,” reads a blog post explaining the new feature. The idea is likely attractive to vendors who are already using Groupon—why bother with accounts at various local commerce application sites when you combine your needs in one?

This will also give Groupon the ability to see how its customers are spending money with its merchant clients. At the moment, the site can see how many deals it sells but doesn’t have a conclusive way to tell vendors much about customer retention (a gripe many businesses that have used Groupon have had). Getting consumers to stick hasn’t been Groupon’s strongest characteristic. In fact, it’s its greatest weakest.

Still, the most popular daily deals aggregator on the market is now offering a rewards program. What could go wrong? LocalBonus founder Derek Webster explains that one core problem Groupon isn’t addressing: They might be able to show their merchants how many customers are coming back, but those merchants may not be happy with the numbers. “The increased transparency is a step in the right direction, but merchants will be disappointed by what they find,” he says.

“It remains to be seen whether these ‘unlocked deals’ will be as valuable as promised, but many of the same issues remain—i.e. the customer has to pre-pay for this new second deal. And, even though the consumer pays for the deal, Groupon pockets this amount. So, consumers pay for their ‘reward’ and the merchant ends up having to give the free product away.”

Webster says a model like LocalBonus’ is a better option for consumers and merchants alike. Forgoing the traditional daily deals route, LocalBonus instead rewards you for shopping at the local businesses you do anyway. Users enter their credit card (or cards) and are rewarded for shopping at merchants that are signed up to LocalBonus. You can use these points at any participating vendor.

It’s certainly a new spin on what’s becoming an uncreative industry—and yes, we know, it’s still in its infancy. Already the copycats are too many to count and consumers are becoming somewhat skeptical. But if something innovative and more effective is able to come out of the wood work, we’re sure buyers would take notice.

Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?

Razer Game Store to shut down at end of February, less than a year after opening

The Razer Game Store will shut down on February 28, less than a year after it opened. Games purchased from the digital store will continue to work, but purchased keys will need to be used before its closure.

Buying a Galaxy S10? Here's how to sell your old Galaxy phone

If you’re preparing to upgrade to a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S10 or S10 Plus, then you will want to turn your old Galaxy into cash. Follow our guide on how to sell your old Samsung Galaxy for the best results.

You can now get Google Fi SIM cards straight from Best Buy

Google's wireless service known as Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi. The company also announced the service is now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about…
Social Media

Twitter boss again teases the idea of a button to edits tweets

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suggested the company is still looking at options for allowing people to edit tweets. Ideas include a function that gives you up to 30 seconds to recall a tweet before it goes live on the service.
Social Media

‘Instagram egg’ embarks on a new adventure as man behind it is unmasked

The Instagram egg made global headlines recently after it became the most-liked post on the photo-sharing app. The person behind the account has now been revealed, as has his reason for choosing an egg for the stunt.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.