Those who used to dismiss Groupon are now listening up. This week, the daily discount service used by 42 million people debuted Groupon Reserve, a tool that allows consumers to book reservations at high-end restaurants in 10 cities, including Boston, New York, and Los Angeles — and get discounts of 20 percent to 40 percent. And customers get the discount without having to pre-pay or present vouchers. The new service, reports USA Today, also gives local businesses the chance to draw crowds at slow hours through flexible pricing.
Soon the service will also include deals for prestigious brands at spas, beauty salons and hotels.
“It’s another major milestone,” Groupon co-CEO Eric Lefkofsky, who took charge earlier this year with co-CEO Ted Leonsis, told the newspaper. “The company is in a much better place than it was four months ago… We’re going to go slow and not overreact.”
The company hopes this move will turn things around. It has gone through major changes recently. Former CEO Andrew Mason was pushed out of the company, which was valued at a $15.8 billion last year but is now only worth about $5.7 billion.
Moreover, consumers have soured somewhat on the deals. To make up for a bit of disenchantment, the Groupon is trying some new things. In September, for example, Mason announced the company’s future success depended upon going “deeper” into an estimated $3 trillion local-commerce market. Under Mason’s lead, Groupon entered the mobile credit card payment business, joining a field crowned with such already existing services as Square and PayPal.