November 17, 2014
Groupon announced a new feature Oct. 22: “Pages.” With more than seven million listings for merchants, Groupon – an online company offering a collection of services and goods at discounted rates in a marketplace format – is setting itself up to be a central focus for customers looking for information relating to local businesses in the United States. What are Pages and how do they relate to your business?
What are Pages?
In a nutshell, Groupon’s Pages are business listings and profiles – similar to those available on other directory sites – that offer customer reviews, ratings, special offers and news announcements along with the opportunity to “request a deal” from listed businesses.
While the number of listings created by Groupon corresponds directly with the number of small- to medium-sized businesses in the U.S., not every listing, or page, has been claimed. While that number is not available yet, it’s estimated that it’s less than seven million, in fact, since Groupon has relationships with 650,000 merchants, it’s likely the number is significantly less.
Small businesses can claim their listings online similar to how listings are claimed on sites like Google Places and Yelp. Once they essentially take control of their listing, they can change the information published, offer specials and communicate with customers.
What are the Benefits of Pages?
Groupon claims the benefits of pages are to businesses and customers. Customers can now find information easily related to specific products and businesses, communicate, ask questions and find what they’re looking for without visiting multiple sites – provided the information in a listing is claimed and accurate. It’s one-stop online shopping – Amazon-style – but in a directory format.
The benefits that are less obvious on the surface of the announcement are those to Groupon and small business owners. With more traffic and attention, along with an increased size, Groupon’s listings are now more likely to show up in search rankings. This increases their ability to draw traffic from searches without even needing a relationship with the company in question. When a page has a high level of interaction and traffic, it will be rewarded according to current search algorithms.
This creates a dilemma for small businesses. If Groupon’s listings receive high search rankings, the company could receive additional exposure. However, when the listing outranks the business’s actual webpage, traffic could be going somewhere other than the desired site. This has yet to be seen or explored, but the potential for difficulty does exist.
“By posting Statements or other information on or through the Communities, you grant Groupon a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, edit, translate, distribute, perform, and display the Statements alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology whether now known or hereafter developed without territorial or time limitations, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of sublicensees. Your license of any Statements or information submitted above extends to use for promotions, advertising, market research or any other lawful purpose, without limitation.”
If a page is not claimed, a business cannot use the tool to its advantage or direct visitors to its website through it, if it is claimed, attention could still be pulled away from the target site, when the listing is not properly maintained. It’s a potential catch-22 situation that deserves serious thought.
What Happens Once a Page is Claimed and What it Means for You
While traditional advertising options exist for those brands looking to maximize their Groupon exposure, pages can be claimed by businesses for free. The benefits of claiming a page include:
- Ownership. Business owners and merchants that claim their pages are able to modify what information is shared with visitors and potential customers.
- Customization. Once a page is claimed, it can be customized to display the information that’s important to each brand. This includes contact information, website URLs and links, hours and more. From there, photos, testimonials and other information can be added.
- Promotions and special offers. Business owners and merchants can use their pages to draw in new customers through specials, promotions, coupons and deals that can be changed or modified at any frequency.
- Feedback and reviews. If a business struggles with receiving feedback from customers once a deal is completed, Pages could aid in solving the problem. Surveys will be sent out through Groupon to any customer that redeems a deal – through the traditional site – or claims a coupon or special offer through Pages, which could provide constructive feedback to the business in question.
- Opportunities to Engage. When a customer leaves feedback through Pages on a particular business’s page, that business can engage by addressing negative feedback publically or privately or thanking those reviewers that leave positive feedback.
At this point, there seems to be little harm in claiming Groupon Pages provided the information is updated regularly and maintained. As a business owner, if you’re interested in taking advantage of the benefits of Pages, take the time to explore options, to ask questions and to maximize your presence by using all of the features listed above to drive traffic back to your site while engaging customers and potential customers who interact through your business’s Page. In this case, the benefits may outweigh the potential drawbacks.
Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Easy Lift Equipment succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.