Groupon launches real-time app Groupon Now

Faith Merino · May 11, 2011 · Short URL:

The app is only available in Chicago for now, but shows some big promise

As it gears up for its impending IPO (rumored to have almost kicked off this week with an official filing), Groupon has officially launched Groupon Now, its new app for instant, hyper-local deals.

Groupon first gave the world a taste of Groupon Now back in March, when it showed how the app will work. Users will have two options in a sleek user interface to choose from: “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored.” It doesn’t take a lot of guesswork to figure out how that works. The “I’m hungry” button shows you all of the nearby restaurant and eatery deals, while the “I’m bored” button shows you all of the nearby deals for fun things to do, like take a yoga class or get a mani-pedi.

Unlike typical Groupons, which usually run for 24 hours or more and can be used at any point until the expiration date several months or one year later, Groupon Now deals are instant and hourly, designed to run for a few hours or up to a day, max, thereby allowing merchants to pull customers into their stores during slow periods. And it allows customers to get instant access to deals without having to wait for a certain number of people to sign up or for the deal window to end.

Merchants can create the deals when they see fit, and customers can purchase the deals with one tap, as their information is already stored, so they don’t have to enter credit card information. They present their Groupon to the merchant via their smartphone, and the merchant scans it with his or her smartphone. Done deal!

The app is currently only available in the Chicago area, and the company could not be reached for comment, so no word on when it will roll out to other cities.

LivingSocial launched a similar initiative in March—LivingSocial Instant Deals. The feature is not a separate app, but comes built into the regular LivingSocial app. But like Groupon, LivingSocial is testing out the new feature on their own home turf in Washington DC.


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