Does Google Offers Stand a Chance Against Groupon?

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google offersA 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.

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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.

google offers

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.

google offers vs groupon

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.

google offers vs groupon

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.

google offers vs groupon

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 and groupon

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.

google offers and groupon

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.

google offers and groupon

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!)

google offers

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

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8 Comments - Write a Comment

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Rob Hindle

There’s a big problem with Groupon. Their pressure sales techniques have led to suppliers (especially smaller busineses) finding the terms end up damaging them and not delivering any benefit. They are pressured into offering too large a discount and then allowing too many to take up the offer. With hotels in particular that means the customer may find it difficult to get a mutually convenient date to take up the offer.

Some have been confused by the Groupon sales staff and ended up offerring a low price without understanding that Groupon would be taking part of that price so the supplier would lose money on every sale.

A restaurateur I know signed up and found the quality of the resultant business was very poor. Despite receiving the same service and food as normal paying customers Groupon customers were more likely to complain about trivial things in an attempt to get a free meal. They would order the cheapest drinks on the menu or ask for tap water (in UK that has to be provided free on request – even McDonalds comply). If coffee was an addittional cost, they’d not have one. Tips were at best, mean. A groupon customer will just be looking for the next offer and would not be a repeat (normal price) visitor nor a good ambassador for the venue, sometimes even posting poor and incorrect reviews on the internet.

If some other provider, perhaps Google, were to take a less aggressive approach with suppliers that could be a good thing.

As a potential customer one possibility is to approach businesses who made a Groupon offer to see if you can negotiate your own discount. Don’t mention that you saw the Groupon deal as if they knowingly offer a discount in those circumstances they’d violate their Groupon contract.

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Yeah. I’ve read some blog posts written by small to middle sized businesses telling the problem. While there might be some legitimate users willing to preach the brand if they’re satisfied, far more numbers are cheap customers who would use every opportunity available and don’t consider becoming a regular. I’ve also seen complaints about Groupon’s misleading consultants, especially their claim that Groupon users often make purchase above the listed deals, which is in reality, wrong.

creeem

Your restaurateur has got it all wrong, that not how you approach this entire concept. If groupon has sold him/her this idea then yes its groupons fault
Personally ever since I was introduced to the concept of “deals” and “coupons” I don’t buy anything without a coupon. Its that simple. Almost all businesses keep a huge fat profit and can afford to give a discount if they can get a large number of customer to achieve economies of scale.
Hotels should be aware of this. Especially Buffets. A lot of food goes waste in buffets especially star hotels who have to keep a buffet for the guests of the hotel. They have some great food but nobody goes in there cause its well costly or they don’t know how great it is.
This is where they give a discount and they have a lot of people come in and even if they pay half the price of even price less that the cost price they would be making money of the food that would be thrown out anyways.

These “FREELOADER” are the key they help you achieve economies of scale. In restaurants who just offer a buffet they can start a new buffet of a lunch program and have these ‘freeloaders” walk in and atleast get their costs covered.
New restaurants(or old restaurant who are starting a new buffet/lunch/cuisine) don’t have people walking in on the first day of launch.
Yet they have to prepare enough food just in case people walk in. So a lot goes to waste.
I have seen in my city a total failure of an excellent salad buffet(only salads) because for the first 15 days no one was walking in in a month they closed, but later (i got information from one of the stewards) that after a month they had many people walk in asking for the salad buffet(as they had seen the ads in the newspapers and Billboards and could only make time now or they were still seeding the billboards that were still up as it was on a contract)
For the fist month they had to throw away lots of food, if they had use a service like groupon and got the “freeloaders”(everyone despises so much) then they would have atleast recovered their costs or atleast managed to sustain the buffet until their “offline ads” started to get results and they slowly managed to get a loyal customer following who were looking for weight loss/healthy salad options.
I think this has to be the approach. For every 10 freeloader you will surely get 1 loyal customer for life depending on how good your service/product is.

There there are people like me without a coupon there is not way I am going “test” a new restaurant or service. Also I will always search for a coupon even if I am a regular visitor I do that with various chain restaurants like dominos or coffee shops were I am a regular for years.

There I too have been a victim to buying something just because there was an offer.

The problem is is that restaurant owners should respect all their customers and keep a positive attitude. If they treat the “freeloaders”(sometimes they just assume they are only that) and keep a positive mind(also do some maths before they give a discount) they can benefit greatly from this strategy instead of cribbing about it.

Ryan Dube

This is a good point. Advertising using Groupon is one thing, but if the service or product being offered isn’t actually something people would WANT to return to, obviously the business won’t see much benefit from drawing people in with good deals.

creeem

Google will surely beat groupon google has the upper hand. It already has a large customer base that are using its service from gmail to google search and g+ They can sell any new service they offer for free to this huge “following”.

Ryan Dube

You know – this is interesting. I’ve always wondered how Groupon can manage to get these sort of deals. I can understand these being a huge advertising draw for businesses, but on the other hand there will always be people looking to only use the service or business when there’s such a 40 to 50% price cut on the product.

But, I would have to think that in the long run businesses benefit from new customers that realize the value of the product or service and come back again later?

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AP

My experience is that people often fall for the offers and ends up buying thing which they actually don’t need.

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Victor Ong

Cool. I just might use this!

I’ve been using google alerts all this time. Google offers seems pretty good. I’ll try it!

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