Monday, April 25, 2011

Google Offers : Google's own version of Groupon

After a phenomenal success and an unprecedented valuation, Groupon is all set to see a competitor in the form of Google. Google offers, quite similar to Groupon has tied up with Adility, a company that is amassing its own sales force. Google recently issued this statement about Offers: "Today we launched a marketing campaign inviting Portlanders to sign up for a test of Google Offers — to get great deals delivered right to their inboxes. Offers is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new services that give consumers great deals while helping connect businesses with customers in new ways".
Personally I am quite disappointed with Google offering a "me-too" kind of service, although it makes business sense to get into a growing market. Google had its own tryst with Groupon after its founder Andrew Mason turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer by Google (Google's highest offer, almost double of its highest acquisition in history) in Dec, 2010 (read more on Groupon). What I expected out of Google was to do some consumer research on the satisfaction levels of Groupon users and figure out "what more" can be added. Its a deviation from Google's history and a culture of innovation, which is reflected in their philosophy (read Google's 10 core principles). When an organization diverts its attention from its core competencies, values or its mission/vision statement, its a clear indication that all is not well at the top level. It shows a lack of direction. Although I might come across as being highly judgmental on this issue, I'd still give Google another chance with "Google Offers". Google offers should "re-invent" or innovate the existing concept of group sales promotional offers. As a researcher in marketing, there was one concept of exclusivity I was working on that  I feel can add value to the existing concept of group buying. People have adopted the concept of group buying but are they still looking for "exclusive offers", which cannot be availed by other users of the website. This is similar to an "exclusive deal" available for those who've bought say more than 100 sales promotional offers (like the frequent flier miles) or who only buy high end products. These options need to be investigated and they can only be done if one thinks outside the computer or internet.