Thursday, June 3, 2010

Electronic coupon clippers highlights the rise of the online coupon

So, how can restaurants appeal to price-conscious consumers but not define themselves by price? New delivery channels are taking coupons and discounts to the next level – and to new audiences. For example, offers made to restaurants’ social media followers are working well. In fact, 63% of respondents to the R&I study said coupons and deals are what they most want when they connect to restaurants’ Facebook or Twitter accounts. Restaurants are becoming increasingly adept with offers – such as asking followers to mention a specific tweet to get a special deal. They are also making announcements of last-minute specials and invitations for happy hour specials. In addition to driving traffic quickly, offers aimed at restaurants’ social media audience are viral and build those communities further.

With With over four million subscribers and more than four million coupons sold to date, Groupon is a force in the electronic coupon category. Subscribers receive a daily email with a special offer in their cities to see, do, and buy, including discounts on restaurant meals, such as paying $25 for a coupon (or “groupon”) for $50 worth of food. The offer becomes the exclusive subject of a daily email (including photos, information about the business, and links to its Web site). There’s no upfront cost to businesses to participate; Groupon processes the transaction and retains a portion of each “groupon” sold. Because businesses specify a minimum number to be sold for the deal to be valid, subscribers often use email and social media to spread the word. Restaurants say that participating has helped them reach new audiences – notably the young and Web-savvy – without spending time and money on marketing.