What is a 'Groupon?'

October 26, 2009 4:39:26 PM PDT
In this Stretch Your Dollar, we are talking about a new website that puts new meaning into collective buying power. There is true power in numbers.The name of the website is called Groupon.com. The website offers a local deal of the day on food, merchandise or services and it can be anywhere from 50 to 90 percent off the regular price. The catch is you only get the deal if enough people buy.

"It's convenient, it's affordable and it's healthy," said Dana Herrera, My Fit Foods Marketing Director.

Herrera was looking for a way to bring in new customers to try My Fit Food's healthy pre-packaged meals.

"We have no preservatives, no additives and 90 percent is wheat, gluten and soy free," she said.

So Herrera turned to Groupon.com. Here's how Groupon works: First, you have to sign up for free. Every day the website will alert you of its local online deal of the day. That deal is offered for 24 hours only. But if enough Groupon subscribers don't sign up for the deal, then it's null and void.

For example, My Fit Foods offered $40 worth of food for only $15. Within 24 hours, 20 people had to take advantage of the deal in order for the Groupon to be valid. That offer got almost 1,200 takers.

"To hit 1,200 people in a 24-hour time period was amazing," said Herrera.

There was another Groupon recently offered at Jacques Dessange Salon. A micro-derm and European facial that normally costs $160 at the salon was offered with the Groupon for only $60. The salon got more clients in one day than they normally get in one month.

"We got 187 clients that we got in," said Yvette Weeks of Jacques Dessange Salon.

Best friends Melissa Santiago and Megan Stork love the idea of Groupon and took advantage of the discounted facial.

"I have always wanted to come here and I just never have and then I was like, 'Oh, that's a great reason to go,'" said Stork.

Santiago added, "It's great. You are getting your facial half price from what it was."

And it's not just food and salon services.

"We create and design all the products here in Houston," said Heida Thurlow, owner of Chantal Cookware.

Monday's Groupon deal features locally-owned Chantal Cookware. The company is offering $30 worth of merchandise for $15. Fifty people must purchase the Groupon in order for it to be valid.

Thurlow says Groupon is a win-win for both the customer and the business.

"For us to get the name out to more and more people, it's really important. People, once they buy Chantal, become customers for life," said Thurlow.

The Groupon for Jacques Dessange Salon was so successful, they will be offering another one on Tuesday. It's a $95 haircut and style for $45 for new clients only. Twenty-five people must purchase this Groupon to get the deal.

Keep in mind Groupons are one per person, but in many cases you can purchase as gifts for other people.

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