The IT consulting firm Ajilitee, which specializes in analytics and cloud computing, launched a Groupon daily deal for consulting services. It proved so successful that Groupon plans to put additional resources behind a series of offerings for business-to-business services through Groupon Stores, which launched in December, says Julie Mossler, Groupon spokesperson.
The store lets businesses create and launch their own deals whenever they want.
"We'll look at your buying history, sex and zip code, and based on that, we'll try to connect you with the most interesting deal," Mossler says. "If we see you bought a lot of tech Groupons or things in the computer space, we may send you something IT-related, or we may send it to our merchants. We're trying to connect you with the correct audience."
Daily deal sales could exceed $6 billion by 2015, growing at a compounded rate of about 47.4% -- up from $873 million in 2010, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Mossler says Groupon has "dabbled" in B2B offerings for about a year. The biggest problem with offering B2B services is that it requires the merchant to track redemption. In reality, not all do -- which is another reason why Groupon encourages merchants to use an ROI app. The mobile redemption-tracking app, free to download from the Android Marketplace and Apple App Store, allows companies to scan and verify daily deal Groupons using their device's camera.
Android phones and iPod Touches have the app preloaded to thousands of businesses as part of their featured promotions. While the app now allows merchants to keep track of redemptions in real-time to determine their return on investments, Groupon previously handed a list to merchants with names of those who bought daily deals, along with the Groupon number, to keep track and mark off themselves.
The merchant scans the Groupon coupon when redeemed. The scan and free app interface with the Groupon platform the merchant integrates with its backend enterprise platform or computer system. For instance, Monumental Sports & Entertainment recently announced Groupon as the exclusive Daily Deal sponsor of the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, WNBA's Washington Mystics and Verizon Center. If the center offers 2,000 tickets through Groupon, it would tie those ticket scans back to Groupon.com; the free app will monitor the amount of redemptions and return on investment for the company.
Groupon isn't the only daily deal service to address B2B marketers. ReachLocal's acquisition of DealOn gives the company a white-label offering for publishers. Earlier this week, ReachLocal's DealOn released information on a partnership with NimbleCommerce. The agreement gives NimbleCommerce's more than 50 local and national publisher clients the ability to source from DealOn's deal offers in nearly 20 U.S. markets through the company's two-way group-buying exchange, OfferEx.