For this, my first contribution to We Love DC, I want to talk about a company new to the DC area that is leveraging collective buying power to offer fantastic discounts at local retailers and service providers. “Groupon”, which launched its DC operation on May 26th, is a catchy play on the word “Coupon” (I know this seems plainly obvious, but I’m just playing it safe) and a division of Chicago-based parent company The Point, which harnesses the power of individual contribution to generate large scale impact in a social capacity. The Point’s company slogan is “Make Something Happen,” which is pretty kickass because after all, who doesn’t want to make shit happen?
Anyways, the idea behind Groupon came about from a basic problem that many of us busy urbanites suffer from: so much cool stuff to do, but almost too many choices, which means I keep returning to my “usual” spots, only to leave thinking, “man, I really gotta try some new places/things.” But I never did. That is, until I signed up to receive Groupon’s daily deal here in the District. Actually, the first thing I did was buy the hardworking lady friend in my life an hour long massage at Lunar Massage worth $75 for a mere $30 (brownie points on the cheap!). That’s a deal that can’t be beat! Oh wait, sure it can – perhaps by the 60% off Groupon for pilates classes at Mind-BodyFitness, the 71% off at Miracle’s in the City men’s salon, or the 57% off at Posh restaurant. Are you gettin’ what I’m puttin’ down here? Groupon = bigtime savings for patrons + bigtime exposure for businesses, which in turn = win/win for all!
Here’s the skinny about Groupon, courtesy of it’s snazzy “about page,” complete with a live streaming video of the Groupon head office, which I find kind of cool and kind of eerie, but not as eerie as I’d find it if I worked there….but that’s neither here nor there. Groupon works like this:
1) Each day they feature something cool to do at a huge discount.
2) You only get the discount if enough people join that day – so invite your friends!
3) Check back the next day for another awesome coupon.
Pretty simple right? Right! What’s more is that the company has a pretty awesome phiosophy: “we treat our customers the way we like to be treated…..”:
1) We sell stuff you want to buy – A great price is only half the battle – it’s also got to be a great product or service. Between our top-rated business partners and unbeatable prices, you should feel comfortable venturing out and trying something new – just because it’s featured on Groupon. We want Groupon to be an addiction you can feel good about.
2) No BS – We really want you to love Groupon. “Gotchas” and buried conditions that sour the experience are a terrible way to accomplish that goal. We want each Groupon purchase to feel too good to be true, from the moment you buy to the day you use it. If there’s anything unusual about a deal (e.g. an inconvenient location), we go out of our way to point it out.
3) Unbelievable customer service – Like you, we’ve suffered through hour-long “transfer-athons” with customer service departments, or waited days for an email reply to to a simple question. If you contact us, we’ll do what it takes to make things right – and we’ll do it fast. Email us, or speak with a human (during normal business hours): (312) 676-5773
These are 3 basic principles that I wish ALL companies would adopt. Frankly, it’s hard to find all 3 rolled into 1 company – one always seems to be missing. But Groupon is Spoton. I like it. In fact, I contacted them via twitter @groupondc and got an immediate reply from Andrew, who I’m guessing is the DC Groupon manager in charge of setting up all these sweet deals is the Founder/CEO, with some information I could use for this here post of mine (thanks, dude!)
And just so that I can give some shoutouts to the open-minded businesses who are realizing the value-add of a service like Groupon, both to their business and to patrons, here is a list of DC-area companies I’ve been sent Groupon’s for since May 26th, when Groupon launched it’s DC operation:
Panache Restaurant, All Star DC Tours, Salon Roi, Uptown Cathay (no site), Relaxed Spa & Tans, Valley Mill Kayak School, PS7’s Restaurant, DC9 nightclub, Frederick Accupuncture, SPE Dive School, Bullfeather’s of Capitol Hill, Nova Personal Chef, Skin Beauty Lounge, Color Me Mine, Sonic Soft Carwash, Brightwood Bistro
I think that they deserve a shot at your patronage just for showing that they really do want it and aren’t above giving some discounts to get it – there are a lot of places who probably think they are “too good” to give discounts such as these, and to those businesses I say good luck! It’s the businesses who realize how competitive it is in this city and are willing to adapt and try new methods of getting exposure who will be most successful. That is, unless their business really does suck, but that’s an entirely different problem altogether.
Bottom Line: Groupon is a solid business idea that connects patrons and retailers who otherwise might never cross paths, and at a price that works for my pocket. I say sign up at GrouponDC, follow my buddy Andrew on Twitter, and become a fan on facebook. This way, you’re sure to never miss a Groupon opportunity, and you’ll be spreading the word about a great business.