In the hopes of broadening its market, on Monday Groupon is launching its first self-service platform on Grouponworks.com, enabling small businesses to create their own deals.
Aptly named Deal Builder, the platform will be accessible 24/7 and offer a convenient way to set up deals in the vein of traditional Groupons, such as half-off discounts and other incentives.
"Traditionally, Groupon pursued an outbound sales model, with sales representatives reaching out to merchants and gauging their interest in working with us," says Dan Roarty, Groupon's vice president of product development.
But Groupon was unable to work with certain businesses for "a lot of reasons," he says. Often the merchants weren't located where Groupon's representatives focused, or the businesses fell into a certain category that simply didn't draw enough interest through email. Additionally, some businesses were "one- or two-person operations," and an email campaign was too much to take on.
As the video above demonstrates, merchants fill out their basic information, then choose the right deal structure and discount for their business. Once they've finished, they can review the final product, e-sign a contract, then wait for the deal to go live after a short review process. "Every deal is reviewed by a human being who's checking for the quality of the merchant and to verify that they're legit," says Roarty.
Terms of the deal, or the percentage Groupon will pocket, will be negotiated with merchants on a case-by-case basis.
Not every business can participate just yet. Groupon plans to hold off on granting access to restaurants until later this year because "they're always in high demand, and we want sales reps to be able to speak with them live," Roarty says.
You should also know what you're in for: Though Groupon can be great for earning exposure, the jury is out on whether it generates steady revenue.