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Can Groupon be saved? App usage drops as consumers turn away

1 year ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Tech

Groupon ($NASDAQ:GRPN) is described by Wikipedia as an "American worldwide e-commerce marketplace connecting subscribers with local merchants". That could describe any number of e-commerce plays today, and that's a problem for the Chicago-based company.

Launched in 2008, Groupon was an worldwide sensation by 2010 with coupons available in over 150 cities. By 2015, it served more than 500 cities, claimed 48.1 million active customers and offered more than 425,000 deals in 48 countries.

Groupon's successes would soon time out, however. Small businesses struggled to make money on the platform and other similar services offered as-good or better deals to customers. At one time, the Groupon app was one of the top 50 or 60 things users logged into via Facebook login. Today, it struggled to maintain a presence in the top 100.

Times were certainly better at one point. Before Groupon went public in June 2011 after Yahoo! was rumored to have offered to buy the company for a whopping $3 billion. Things looked good for Groupon for a while. But after an amazing year of revenue growth — a jump from $11 million in January 2010 to $89 million in January 2011 — the company reported that it missed revenue estimates by November 2012. Stocks tumbled, and investors grew restless.

So what's next? Restrategize, find new markets, and find ways to reduce costs while earning more revenue: the usual goals. It doesn't seem the company is seeking answers in new hires. Job openings have been stagnant if down over the past couple years.

Silver lining

As part Groupon's struggle to remain relevant and profitable, it has reduced its workforce on numerous occasions. It infamously laid off 1,100 people in September, 2015 and ceased operations in 7 countries. Since then, however, its number of employees has continued to grow as the company looks for new ways to turn a profit. In fact, as of today, approximately 12,400 people — the highest number yet — claim Groupon as their employer on LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, Groupon's social presence remains healthy. The company's Facebook page reached 20 million followers just this month — that a massive amount of people the company can message to. Here's hoping Groupon's marketing executives are paying attention.

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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