A little while after Groupon first got started, I signed up and followed the daily deals for my area religiously. I waited patiently for the perfect deal to roll in, and in a few cases I actually took advantage of the deals. In one case I purchased a couple of nights at an impressive luxury resort for half price – about the price we would have paid for a standard hotel room.
There were a few other smaller deals that I caught along the way, but after about a year or so, the type of deals seemed to start repeating themselves. The hotels and restaurants were different but the deals were the same. Sure, you can save money on dining out, but after a while you get sick of dining out. You want something different.
So, I stopped checking the Groupon emails as they rolled in, and then after a while the emails stopped coming. Maybe at some point I unregistered my email address, I can’t remember. I just know that I was no longer very interested in the whole Groupon thing.
Then, recently, as I was browsing through all of the Google apps, looking for something new and interesting to cover here at MUO, I stumbled across Google Offers. I was instantly reminded of my past Groupon experience, and felt compelled to compare the two to see if there were any real differences between the two.
Google Offers Vs. Groupon
As recently as 2011, Tim actually covered how Google was rebranding Google Coupons into Google Offers, and not long after that, we covered Google Offers Beta. Now that it’s been around for over a year, it’s time to take a closer look at Google Offers to see if it can measure up to the timed-deal powerhouse known as Groupon.
Location, Community & More
When you compare the two websites, the only thing that’s really different is the category menu placement. In the case of Groupon it’s at the top, and in the case of Google Offers it’s off to the left. Categories are similar, and currently Groupon has eight and Google Offers has ten. In the case of Groupon you set your location when you sign up for the service. With Google Offers, you can change the location on the fly.
This is great for travelers, but if you’re using the service like Groupon, where you just monitor daily offers for great deals in your local area, the local subscription of Groupon tends to make more sense. Of course Google Offers gives you the ability to subscribe to emailed deals as well, but you get to subscribe to multiple locations if you like.
It’s really interesting when you take a closer look at the layout of both websites. The layout, design, image sizing and placement is extremely similar. I would dare to say that one had to have taken inspiration from the other to come up with page layout ideas.
In both cases, you have the top featured deal at the very top of the page, and then underneath – in the case of both sites – you’ve got a grid of medium-sized images with the deal details underneath. Each row has three columns on Groupon, and each row has three columns on Google Offers.
When you take a look at individual offers, you’ll see lots of similarities too, but there are also a couple of pretty important differences as well. One thing that’s similar are the deals themselves. You’ll actually find the same level of discounts at each site – typically 40 to 60 percent off retail. There are definitely some really awesome, cut-rate deals to uncover at either site.
Another similarity is the fact that there’s a time limit to the deal, and you can see the countdown right on the details page.
The biggest difference, and in my opinion one that makes Groupon definitely stand apart is the fact that you can see what other people are doing. You can see how many of the packages have already been purchased by other members, and when it says “limited quantity available!” it’s pretty motivating to press that “Buy” button before the last package is sold.
Google offers doesn’t really do that, so there’s less of a sense of community there, and of course the fact that there are many more locations available in Groupon means that “local” in Groupon equates to a city 20 to 30 minutes away, rather than a major city an hour or two away.
A Closer Look At Google Offers
Even though Groupon still appears to have a leg up, Google Offers still has plenty to offer. At the very least, it’s a good second place to turn if you want to widen your net for those amazing deals. The main featured offers page features everything from jewelry to home improvement supplies.
You’ll find awesome dining deals just as good as any you’d find on Groupon, and these are probably some of the most popular ones out there. People love getting good deals on food – especially when you can eat out at a restaurant and get a $40 meal for $20. That’s insane. Save 50 percent on food? Yes please.
Of course you may not recognize the restaurant, or you may want more details about what the deal entails. The details page on Google Offers will give you all of the details about the offer, with just about all of them providing a pretty long excerpt describing exactly what you’ll get at the discounted price.
If you’re in a hurry and you don’t really like subscribing to anything via email, you can check out the top offers by going over to the Google Offers page every day or two and just clicking the “Featured Offers” at the top of the page. This will give you all of the best, most popular deals in your local area at one quick glance.
When you choose to jump on an offer, if you already have Google Wallet set up, then it’s pretty much a one-click purchase. You’re done. If you don’t have an account set up, you can do so pretty fast and easy.
The ability to jump on an offer with a couple clicks is a pretty nice advantage to have, especially when a deal is in short supply and very popular.
Whenever you do pick up an offer, you’ll see all of the current purchased offers in your “My Offers” section. Just click on that button on the main page, right next to the “Featured Offers” button. The page lists both active offers, as well as any that you’ve let expire (don’t do that!)
Like I said, I had sort of got bored of Groupon, but coming across Google Offers has actually reinvigorated my interest in the whole half-off-at-the-last-second game. It’s a bit exhilarating to land that kind of deal, and to be able to go to work and brag to friends that you got 50 percent off the 5 star restaurant that you’re taking your wife to on Friday night. That’s awesome.
So what’s your take? Are you a regular Google Offers user, or are you a die hard Groupon fan? Do you use both equally? Share your own take on the pros and cons of each in the comments section below.
Image credit: Finding a Good Deal Icon via Shutterstock