Introducing the Updated Groupon Mobile App for Windows

As believers in the inherent worth and dignity of every mobile device that will ever grace the cellular space waves, we strive to bring new mobile experiences directly into your hands.

So you can imagine how excited we are today, with the announcement of v3.0 of Groupon’s mobile app for Windows Phone 8! Our Windows Phone app has received a number of big updates that combine Groupon’s dedication to ease of use with the technologically buff Windows phone 8 platform.

The app is designed to make buying and redeeming Groupons even simpler and to quickly connect you with the deals you care about most. If your reputation for sushi addiction precedes you, use the app to your advantage; its added features include the option to set up notifications or display the latest deals in your favorite categories on the neatly updated Windows Phone 8 start screen!

Have a hankering for pizza on the go? Make that pizza dream a pizza reality. We worked with Nokia to create a deal discovery feature that connects you with nearby offers by displaying them through the camera view of your phone! When it comes time to redeem, you can speed up the process with our deal integration into the new Windows Phone wallet, which allows quick access to the deals you’ve already purchased.

You can learn more about Groupon’s mobile services and download v3.0 of the Groupon Windows Phone 8 app at www.groupon.com/mobile. It’s also available in the Windows Phone Marketplace and by visiting the Nokia Collection embedded on Lumia Devices.

Have you downloaded the app already? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

Help Local Businesses After Sandy

As damage is assessed and Sandy subsides, it’s clear that our merchants, customers and own employees have been hit hard by this week’s events. We wanted to share what’s being done for these groups as well as Groupon’s overall strategy when situations like these occur.

On Our Company and Motivation
As you may know, Groupon grew out of The Point, a site for collective action where users could work together to support community initiatives big and small. Social good is in our DNA and we recognize that responding to community needs is a daily commitment. Through Grassroots, we touch schools, children’s groups, local arts programs and countless other community pillars every single day, aiming to improve the neighborhoods that our Groupon merchants serve.

We often talk about our mission to become the local commerce ecosystem. Merchants are far more than part of our professional network; they ARE Groupon. When they hurt, whether it’s strain due to a bad economy or a natural disaster like Sandy, we do too.

Fortunately, thanks to our daily Grassroots work, we have existing relationships with trusted international partners who can help remedy the pain our businesses face in times of crisis. We can act quickly and make a difference, while still serving our core mission (merchant success.)

What We’re Doing After Sandy
Our focus with all of our philanthropic efforts is community empowerment and neighborhood resilience. Our response to Sandy will focus on long-term recovery (vs short-term relief) of Groupon merchants and the small business community at large.

Actions already taken:

  • We checked in on all merchants being featured this week, and in affected Northeastern markets, eventually moved to “opt-in only,” meaning merchants had to proactively contact us to confirm they were still interested and able to run this week. We’re playing this day by day and will eventually return to normal operation once affected businesses and markets have more stable local resources and city functionality. Our goal is to eliminate any possible strain a feature may cause or continue to help these businesses gain exposure if they’re ready.
  • We referred merchants to relief and recovery resources through Disaster Help Desk powered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Immediate next steps:

  • We’ve launched a Grassroots fundraising campaign for Accion to provide small business recovery microloans, as we did similarly for the Colorado wildfires earlier this year. Please visit www.groupon.com/sandy if you’d like to support our merchant communities.
  • We’ll continue to assess the needs of our merchants in impacted areas, call to check-in, and in some cases just provide some moral support.

As assessments continue to develop a clearer picture of the damage, so will our interventions and approach to supporting the recovery efforts. Thanks in advance for keeping the Groupon family – our merchants, customers, and Groupon employees – in your thoughts.

Today's Stockholders' Letter

Today Groupon updated our stockholders with an annual note from Andrew Mason outlining our progress and plans for the business. You can find the full version below or on our investor relations page.

Dear Stockholders,

2011 was an exceptional year for Groupon. I will start by listing a few of our achievements:

  • By year-end, we sold more than 170 million Groupons to more than 33 million active customers on behalf of more than 250,000 merchants in 48 countries around the world.
  • We drove well over $2 billion to the small businesses of Main Street, helping them to overcome challenging global economic conditions.
  • We launched 11 new products and services, including Groupon Goods, Getaways, Rewards, Now!, and Scheduler.
  • We completed 11 acquisitions, which both expanded our geographic footprint and accelerated our product roadmap. Additionally, these acquisitions brought dozens of talented entrepreneurs to our team.

Along the way, we delivered strong growth and improved our operating leverage. Revenues grew 415% year-over-year to $1.6 billion, and we improved our operating margin from negative 134% to negative 14% for the full year. We improved our GAAP EPS during the year from a loss of $0.48 per share in the first quarter of 2011 to a loss of $0.12 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011. And so, though the six months since our IPO have been rocky to say the least, the fundamentals of our business have continued to improve.

As much as this letter is intended to catalog our achievements in 2011, I would also like to use it as an opportunity to share our vision for Groupon and the tangible progress we are making. We are more excited than ever for our future.

 

Our Mission: To Become the Operating System for Local Commerce

Entertainment, media, politics, and the way we buy products, connect with each other, and consume information—nearly every aspect of life has been fundamentally changed by the Internet. But there’s a huge exception—the way we shop locally.

Groupon’s chief accomplishment to date has been discovering a business model that brings the power of the Internet to local commerce. During the past three-and-a-half years, that business model has allowed us to connect with millions of consumers and hundreds of thousands of merchants and build a brand that they deeply trust.

Upon the shoulders of this business model, Groupon is setting out to reinvent the multi-trillion-dollar local commerce ecosystem. We are building an integrated suite of tools and services that we believe will profoundly change the way we shop locally. Today, Groupon is a marketing tool that connects consumers and merchants. Tomorrow, we aim to move upstream and serve as the entry point for local transactions.

Why Groupon? Aren’t we a daily deals company? A glorified mailing list? What our competitors have learned is that success in local commerce requires an unusual combination of skills—a proficiency in both technology and people-driven operations. With a world-class engineering team—built quietly over the last several years in Chicago, Silicon Valley, and Berlin—and with thousands of salespeople who have cultivated relationships with hundreds of thousands of small-business owners, we believe that we are uniquely in possession of both sides of the equation. That makeup is why we remain the clear leader in local commerce, despite the efforts of hundreds of competitors—from start-ups to the world’s largest technology companies—who have validated the consumer and merchant value created by our business model through their attempts to replicate it.

 

Many of the seeds we’ve planted in pursuit of our mission are beginning to bear fruit:

  • Site and Email Personalization
    In the past year, we doubled the efficacy of SmartDeals, our deal personalization algorithm. For example, in markets with high deal density such as Chicago, emails sent using SmartDeals have a 50% higher purchase rate. It has taken time to get deal relevance right, but progress has begun to accelerate, and we believe that we’re still in the early stages. We’re excited to finally have begun rolling out SmartDeals outside of the U.S., and we are targeting a broad international rollout by the end of 2012.
  • Mobile Adoption
    The rapid adoption of Groupon on mobile devices demonstrates the importance of smart phones to local e-commerce. Our average North American mobile customer, for example, spends well over 50% more than customers who have never purchased on a mobile device. In April 2012, nearly 30% of our North American transactions were completed on mobile devices, compared to 25% just four months ago. This growth has created momentum for Groupon Now!, our real-time deals service offering deals for whenever you’re hungry or bored, which recently surpassed 1.5 million purchases. Our Now! customers buy approximately twice as many Groupons as customers who only buy daily deals.
  • Groupon Rewards: Making Groupon Customers a Merchant’s Best Customers
    Groupon Rewards allows customers to effortlessly earn rewards at their favorite merchants, simply by paying with a normal credit card. Thousands of merchants are already participating in our pilot cities, and we expect many more to join. During the past two months, about 30% of eligible daily deal merchants in those cities have signed up for the program. As part of Rewards, we are also providing merchants with deep payment analytics to assess the profitability of their Groupon campaigns. Though the preliminary dataset is small, pilot results show that Groupon Rewards customers are more loyal than other customers.
  • Groupon Scheduler: The Foundation for Automated Yield Management
    Groupon Scheduler is a bookings management system that addresses a fundamental need of many of our merchant partners—but that’s only half the story. As we begin to feed merchant inventory to our demand-generation services such as Groupon Now!, we plan to offer a fully automated yield management system for every local business. Scheduler embodies our intent to provide every mom and pop store with powerful technology solutions that were once reserved for sophisticated corporations with multimillion-dollar budgets.

Though our transformation from daily deal provider to local commerce platform will not happen overnight, in the coming quarters, we will release the products that we believe complete the foundation for our ecosystem. We look forward to sharing them soon.

In my letter to potential stockholders that accompanied Groupon’s S-1, I warned investors of a bumpy road—an unfortunate side effect of our unprecedented growth. Groupon has scaled to more than 11,000 employees and 48 countries in only three-and-a-half years. Why move so fast? We believe that Groupon is standing before an enormous opportunity, one that hundreds of competitors large and small have seen. Although there are risks in moving too fast, companies often don’t survive long enough to apologize for moving too slow. Perhaps more importantly, by moving quickly, we reached a scale that has helped us solidify our market leadership, and accumulated data that is enabling our future and helping us continuously improve the experience of our customers.

Bumpiness aside, there are three things I come back to again and again that give me confidence in our ability to execute against our mission:

1. Consumers and merchants love Groupon.

Making merchants and consumers happy is core to the Groupon culture and at the center of everything we do. It’s not surprising, then, that we like to talk about how much consumers and merchants love Groupon, and why we go to great lengths to measure their satisfaction. You don’t have to take our word for it—we commissioned ForeSee, a leading third-party research firm and a standard in e-commerce for measuring customer satisfaction, to use their internal methodology to evaluate our relative positioning versus other top Internet retailers, and their results validate our internal research.

Looking at previous ForeSee online retail satisfaction reports, our U.S. consumer satisfaction score of 83 places Groupon among the highest—11 points higher than the e-commerce benchmark, 6 points above the ForeSee Internet Retailer 100 benchmark, and within approximately 2 points of the average #1 satisfaction score for online retailers during the past five years. We believe the #1 spot is within our reach.

What about merchants? The B2B satisfaction benchmark in the United States is a score of 64, and our merchant satisfaction score is a very strong 79. This is a significant number: not only is it 15 points higher than the B2B benchmark, it is a full 10 points higher than the Fortune 500 benchmark.

2. We have an enormous, untapped opportunity in our core business.

Through smarter deal targeting, there is significant growth waiting to be unlocked in our core daily deal business.  In the United States alone, we have more than 10 million geo-located subscribers engaging with Groupon every month who have yet to make a purchase. We are kicking off a campaign to activate these customers, primarily by featuring deals that are closer to them; as you might imagine, deal proximity is a major driver of purchase behavior.

3. We are most excited about our long-term potential.

We are focused on what is arguably the last great white space in the consumer landscape that has yet to be disrupted by the Internet. We are deploying significant capital and talent toward the opportunity to bridge the large but fragmented local commerce ecosystem. The opportunity before us is substantial: merchants need customers, and customers crave simple tools to discover and buy locally at a great price, tools we believe we are best positioned to provide.

Armed with our mission, strong execution, and courage, Groupon has the opportunity to become one of the world’s great companies. We believe it is our duty to you, our stockholders, to pursue our mission with unyielding perseverance. Thank you for joining us as we continue on this journey.

 

Sincerely,

Andrew D. Mason

Chief Executive Officer

Groupon, Inc.

 

*                        *                        *                        *                        *

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from those discussed. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, the factors included under the headings “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, copies of which may be obtained by visiting the company’s Investor Relations web site at http://investor.groupon.com or the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that the future results, levels of activity, performance or events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. Moreover, neither we nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this press release to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations.

 

Additional Information and Where To Find It

This document may be deemed to be solicitation material in respect of the solicitation of proxies from stockholders for Groupon’s 2012 annual meeting of stockholders (“2012 Annual Meeting”). Groupon has filed with the SEC and will make available to the stockholders of Groupon of record on April 30, 2012 a proxy statement containing important information about matters to be considered by the stockholders of Groupon at its 2012 Annual Meeting. BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, GROUPON’S STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT (INCLUDING ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS THERETO) CAREFULLY AND IN ITS ENTIRETY BECAUSE IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED AT THE 2012 ANNUAL MEETING.

Investors are able to obtain the proxy statement and other relevant materials free of charge at the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov). In addition, documents filed with the SEC by Groupon, including the proxy statement and the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, are available free of charge on the company’s Investor Relations web site at http://investor.groupon.com.


This season, shopping local is the new black (Friday).

Ok everyone, it’s December 1; how’s your gift list shaping up? I have most of my shopping done thanks to Groupon, including Armani sunglasses, this cute olive oil set and and a giant inflatable land shark. I have weird friends.

For the second year in a row, our Grouponicus Holiday Shop empowered Black Friday and Cyber Monday consumers in the U.S. to give unforgettable local experiences. With more than 400 merchants featured over the holiday weekend from sleigh rides to spa experiences, shoppers skipped the chaos at the malls to buy local from the comfort of their own homes.

Although the shopping season is barely underway, Groupon customers’ holiday weekend purchases provide interesting insight into this year’s gift trends:

Shopping local is the new black (Friday).

Black Friday isn’t just for national retailers with large ad budgets. The most popular ‘gifted’ local deal was from GT Dream Cars in New Jersey. More than 860 shoppers grabbed the opportunity for a loved one to race an Aston Martin or Lamborghini for just $59! And in support of Small Business Saturday®, all Groupon deals on Saturday, 11/26 showcased local merchants.

Continue Reading


About the Deal Counter…

Some people have noticed that we’ve been testing a slightly different “Groupons bought” counter on some of our deals. Instead of showing the exact number of Groupons purchased, the counter is now reduced by a random percentage that will change over time in a way that makes it impossible to see trending by counting the units.

Additionally, we are capping and rounding the counter from time to time. We now precede the Groupon count with the word “over” to reflect that the actual number is always actually larger than what’s being displayed.

So, why all the ambiguity? As customers, we like the counter because it indicates how popular deals are. But some clever people are using the counter to make (consistently incorrect) estimates of our total company sales, which we don’t like for the same reason you probably wouldn’t like if people tried to guess your weight all day. This change is meant to continue to reflect deal popularity while making it clearly impossible to predict our sales. We’re blogging about it to be transparent about our lack of transparency.

We began testing the new counter toward the end of September, and we expect it to be enabled for all deals within a few weeks.


Groupon Helps Usher in Season 9 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show!

Some television is boring—reality shows about the spoiled sons of racecar drivers and stain-removal demonstrations. Thankfully, Groupon is partnering with The Ellen DeGeneres Show to put more “fun” back in “televisfun.”

Beginning today, Groupon will be popping up throughout The Ellen DeGeneres Show‘s ninth season, introducing Groupon deals and experiences that will make you want to convert all the microwaves in your home to television sets for maximum viewing capability. Tune in and visit The Ellen DeGeneres Show online to get in on the fun.

Interested in watching the clip? You can view it HERE.

We call it Grouptiva (Groupon Acquires Obtiva)

Today, Groupon is announcing that it is acquiring Obtiva (www.obtiva.com) the largest Ruby on Rails software development firm in Chicago.

We’ve been working side-by-side with our Obtiva colleagues since way back in 2009, when Groupon had a handful of engineers. Today, many of our 600W development teams have Obtivians on them (and several are led by Obtivians.) We decided to stop living in sin and tie the knot.

We’re constantly impressed by how capable Obtiva developers are and we’re really looking forward to expanding the team. If you’re interested in a job in Engineering at Groupon (or a host of other departments, including Housewares and Linens) check out the open positions here.

If you’d like to send a congratulatory gift to the Obtiva team, they’re registered at Crate & Barrel and Radio Shack.

Groupon Now! Deals Available On foursquare

Groupon Now!, our real-time deal platform, continues to launch across the country – we’re up to 25 markets! – and we’ve heard from lots of you that Now! is your favorite new way to cure boredom. Thanks again for updating your app and giving the service a try. Our product innovations are largely sparked by feedback from our customers and merchants; this was a marriage of both that is more than just changing the way people shop…it’s becoming an addiction.

When we think of mobile addiction beyond Now! we think foursquare, and many of you guys do, too. So, attention Mayors, Newbies and Badge Bon Vivants – the foursquare check-in just got a little sweeter! Starting today, Groupon is partnering with foursquare to offer deals you can use instantly.

As you get out and explore your city, just peruse participating Groupon merchants on foursquare, from lunch spots to live events, and purchase your Now! deal to apply immediately to your purchase. Groupon Now! features the same high quality merchants you’ve come to expect from us, and we have thousands lined up in each Now! city ready to celebrate your foursquare addiction.

Have you tried Groupon Now!? Found a great Now! deal on foursquare? Comment here and let us know how it went.

Groupon Files Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering

Groupon has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with regard to a proposed initial public offering. What this means is that we can’t say anything beyond what’s in our yawn-inducing press release below. Kudos to you for even reading this far, but seriously, thank you for caring about Groupon.

Groupon Files Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Groupon, a local e-commerce marketplace that connects merchants and consumers by offering goods and services at a discount, today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its Class A common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. A portion of the shares will be issued and sold by Groupon, and a portion will be sold by certain stockholders of Groupon.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC will be the joint book-running managers for the offering. When available, a copy of the preliminary prospectus may be obtained from Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, Second Floor, New York, NY 10014, via telephone: +1 (866) 718-1649, or by e-mail: prospectus@morganstanley.com; or Goldman, Sachs & Co., Prospectus Department, 200 West Street, New York, NY 10282, via telephone: +1 (866) 471-2526, via facsimile: +1 (212) 902-9316, or by e-mail: prospectus-ny@ny.email.gs.com; or Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, One Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10010, via telephone: +1 (800) 221-1037, or by e-mail: newyork.prospectus@credit-suisse.com.

A registration statement relating to the securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. The securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, the securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such state or jurisdiction.


Things go viral on the internet…who knew??

You know when you hear some juicy gossip about Sarah dating Peter, and it spreads around the office, and suddenly Sarah’s secretly married to Peter who’s cheating on his taxes so that he can pay for magician school? That happened to us today.

Someone online began a petition to boycott Groupon because they believed we were a sponsor of the Apprentice, a show that is in the middle of some political criticism at the moment.

Then, just like that, it was announced we were pulling our sponsorship and boycotting the Apprentice and NBC. Pulling a fake sponsorship that didn’t exist….

Here’s the thing: Groupon has never been a sponsor of The Apprentice on TV or on the web. We invest heavily in online advertising through networks that place ads on a rolling basis, meaning that we know one will appear on NBC.com but not specifically which page. We know that some advertising appeared on the Apprentice home page a few weeks ago.

Enough consumers have contacted us to warrant ensuring that we don’t place ads on the Apprentice homepage in the future. It’s the same reason we don’t run deals on guns or abortion…this isn’t a political statement, it’s avoiding intentionally upsetting a segment of our customers.

Thanks for allowing us to clear this up. Maybe we can make this blog post go viral, too.