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Groupon Now is a big deal

Deals site Groupon has launched a real-time promotions service which smaller retailers can use to drive sales.

This month, deals website Groupon launched real-time service Groupon Now, which aims to benefit small businesses.

Groupon Now works by allowing consumers to find real-time deals on Groupon via the website or mobile app. Businesses can specify a time period for these deals to be available - rather than just on a daily basis - which is ideal for encouraging customers into stores or online during slower trading periods.

Customers can look on Groupon Now via their smartphones and find a deal that is available in their location at that exact time. They can purchase the deal, and a scannable barcode is then sent to the user’s phone, which can be used in the store.

Currently, Groupon Now is only available in Chicago, but it is likely to be rolled out internationally in the near future. The traditional Groupon model, which allows businesses to offer daily deals to consumers based on their collective buying power, has previously been used by both pure-play etailer Asos and womenswear chain Oasis.

The deal Asos ran was the opportunity to buy a £20 voucher for £9. The deal was quickly picked up by consumers and posted on both Twitter and Facebook, as well as on blogs and forums. Not only did this one-off deal introduce Asos to a new audience, but comments from social networking sites also showed just how big the impact was in terms of customer loyalty. Oasis followed closely in the footsteps of Asos by offering a £25 voucher for £12.

According to Groupon, the business now has more than 8 million subscribers in the UK and Republic of Ireland, which is a massive potential audience for retailers. The current deals on the site are more beauty- or leisure-based, but the involvement of ecommerce leader Asos should attract other retailers.

With the launch of Groupon Now, smaller indies will also be encouraged to offer deals on the site in order to attract local customers into stores, providing yet another channel to reach a whole new customer base.

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