Mark Bridge writes:
Groupon is a US phenomenon that’s not quite become ‘mainstream’ in the UK… yet. While the transatlantic tech press have been intrigued by the will-they-won’t-they story of Google apparently offering up to $6 billion for the two-year-old company, most of the UK has been wondering what the fuss is about.
But all that could be about to change.
In case you’re not certain what it does, Groupon offers daily local deals. Perhaps money off a meal, perhaps a discount on a haircut. Oh, and it also gives rewards for recommending new members. Because it has a large number of members worldwide – around 35 million at the last count – businesses are prepared to cut their prices if a enough Groupon members take advantage of the deal. Every deal has a ‘buy’ option available for 24 hours. If the required number of Groupon members click the link, the deal will go ahead. If there isn’t enough interest, it’ll be cancelled. Groupon takes a share of the payment for every successful deal and issues coupons for its users to redeem.
Android and iPhone Groupon apps were announced for users in the USA earlier this year – and this week’s release of HipLogic’s *Spark for Android and Symbian phones has brought Groupon to UK mobile phones.
However, as with other elements of the *Spark application, the Groupon feed is even smarter than it looks. Groupon deals can be shown at the bottom of the app's home screen - and they're automatically tailored to the user’s location. This type of ‘push’ notification could help Groupon get the UK awareness it’s undoubtedly looking for. In fact, Groupon's deal with HipLogic could even be the first steps in the company's move towards mobile payments and a move away from desktop computing... but that’s pure conjecture at the moment.