Groupon has sold more than 70 million discount coupons in the last 2 plus years. The company has also hired nearly 7,000 employees during that time. The company plans to raise around $750 million by going public. The Associated Press reported that venture capitalists and others have invested $1.1 billion in the company.
The success of on-line coupon businesses points to a growing trend affecting local businesses. The internet is an efficient and effective tool for connecting with customers. The willingness of small businesses to use the web to boost their sales is reflected in Groupon’s tremendous growth over the last two years.
Small businesses working together to plan on-line marketing strategies are more successful than businesses that work alone. Improving returns from coupon promotions, for example, happens when businesses work together to coordinate campaigns and maximize the value of increased customer traffic. This, in turn, reflects favorably on the business community and results in a more rewarding shopping experience. As a group, local businesses can evaluate competing on-line options and choose the solution that best suits their needs and budgets.
AllyLocal, a network of local businesses, provides a free on-line platform for exchanging ideas, sharing expertise, referring customers, and planning group promotions. Members showcase their companies
on their own business page, use links to other sites like Face Book and Twitter and coordinate their internet strategy. Sharing ideas and insights with other members improves their chances of working successfully with Groupon and the many alternatives that have come along to cash in on this lucrative market.