Groupon Now! is a spin on the traditional Groupon model of offering one deal a day in your local area. Instead of just one deal a day, it offers local deals at any moment of the day. If you’re walking down the street and are wondering what kinds of deals are near you, just pop open the Groupon NOW website or the mobile app and punch in your location.
You’ll then be presented with a list of deals in your area. Since your payment information is saved with your Groupon account you can just tap on a deal to purchase it. The app will give you a scannable barcode that the shop offering the deal can read using the Groupon NOW app.
Groupon Now! gives business owners the ability to offer deals at specific times of the day. This will enable them to schedule deals to encourage visitors during normally slow business hours.
Currently the service is only live in Chicago, where I was able to find deals from local businesses in a variety of categories. A small timer shows you how long you have to redeem the deal and where the deal is located. As an example, this should enable people to find a lunch deal near them that is available specifically during their lunch hour.
On the merchant side of things, there is a new administration page for those looking to set up a Groupon Now! account. It explains the process for merchants looking to move into offering the new timed deals.
The process for creating deals is simple, with a clean interface for creating your deal and a calendar to help you schedule it. Since I’m in an area where Groupon Now! has not yet launched, I can’t actually set my deal to go live. I can define the deal however, giving it a retail value and a discount. The calculator shows you the merchant’s take and the Groupon fee and allows you to specify certain locations that the deal is active at. This would be good for specifying different deals at various branches of a business.
At the bottom of the interface you can set the exact time periods that you would like to offer the deal. It looks like a particular deal can only be offered during one time period a day although there is nothing stopping you from creating multiple similar deals each day. You can have the deal repeat each day automatically or until a certain day. The deal configuration also gives you the ability to sell no more than a certain number of deals in each day.
In addition to scanning the customer’s coupon with a mobile device there is an interface that will allow merchants to enter the code manually.
Groupon Now! looks like a solid addition to the Groupon product and one that should allow consumers to find deals more flexibly and closer to where they are. The merchant benefits are also welcome as carefully timed Groupon deals could contribute to effectively managing customer flow and increasing income in typically slow time periods.