How to Avoid Groupon Backlash


Groupon is the latest and greatest in social media marketing. It’s a coupon for a heavily discounted deal on a product or service that is activated when a certain number of people choose to use it.

There are other services similar to it, LivingSocial and TeamBuy are two others. It seems to fit snuggly into a social buying niche that may start to give consumers more of a say into the prices of products they want or need.

This month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review featured an article on an aspect of Groupon that could be interest to many of the businesses who are considering delving into Groupon as a marketing strategy. Before diving in, it may be of benefit to call a team meeting and explain how the business may benefit from these extreme cost cutting measures. As it turns out, the euphoria that the Groupon-holders experience may be equivalent to the disappointment that employees feel while servicing these bargain-hunters.

Most employees feel a certain level of pride associated with the brand they represent or the level of expertise required to carry out their on-the-job responsibilities and can be easily offended when this offering is sold for next to nothing. It can easily be taken personally – when one is not mindful of the bigger picture.

In addition to the unhappiness employees feel with giving away their product or service, the typically bargain-minded Groupon user can add to the displeasure by showing a lack of etiquette by tipping poorly or being generally un-knowledgeable. This type of behaviour can further enrage the employee – resulting in a less than pleasant experience for all in involved. In fact, research has shown that the level of an Employee’s self reported happiness can directly influence the success or failure of a Groupon promotion.

Seeking your team’s approval for a Groupon promotion may be something to easily overlook. However, training on dealing with difficult customers and buy-in to the bigger picture may be the most important thing you can do to ensure the tidal wave of Grouponers don’t impact the morale of your employees and tarnish the great first impression you are hoping to exhibit.

  • Vicki

    Interesting to read about it from a business point of view! We jut recently posted a blog post about what we believe the pros and cons of Groupon and other daily deal sites are for CONSUMERS looking to buy these deals! We would love to know what you think. Check it out–

  • Neil

    Thanks for the comment and link Vicki, I left a few thoughts on your post.