Groupon takes on Square...again...with Gnome

Faith Merino · May 19, 2014 · Short URL:

The iPad-based platform will allow merchants to redeem vouchers with Bluetooth technology

Ever on the quest to develop new technology to connect merchants with customers, Groupon has launched its latest and most oddly named product yet: Gnome—pronounced G-nome (as in genome)…for some reason.

The iPad-based platform is reminiscent of Breadcrumb in that it’s a point-of-sale system that lets merchants process payments, keep track of inventory, and it integrates with accounting software programs like Quickbooks and Xero. But it takes Breadcrumb a step further with unique customer relationship management tools like Bluetooth Groupon redemption.

Essentially, customers can purchase a Groupon anywhere and then Gnome allows the business to recognize those customers and redeem Groupons automatically when they enter the store with their phone. That means customers no longer have to show a printed voucher or hand over their mobile device for scanning (which is really weird when you’re in a restaurant and your server takes your phone to go scan it).

The platform also lets merchants customize marketing campaigns based on customers’ purchase history and share customer feedback via social media.

But while Breadcrumb Pro is designed exclusively for bars and restaurants (with features for table management, checks, and time clock management), Gnome provides point-of-sale features for merchants in retail and beyond.

Interestingly, Gnome also comes with some Groupon Now features, like the ability to push a limited-time deal any time of day when your business is looking sluggish.

“Gnome is an amazing piece of technology that plugs our merchants into the Web and helps them form relationships with every customer that walks in their front door,” said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky, in a statement. “When it’s complete, Gnome will serve as an operating system for merchants to run their entire operation and enable them to create real-time promotions that bring customers into their business when they need them the most.”

Merchants will pay $10 a month for Gnome, which will essentially be mandatory for any and all businesses who want to run a Groupon.

The new development brings Groupon into closer competition with Square, which has begun the process of sunsetting its Wallet app, which allowed customers to pay using Bluetooth technology. Now, Square is making a stronger push in the marketing direction with Square Order, which will allow customers to place orders in advance for quick and easy pickup.

Square plans to charge a whopping 8% for each transaction, but the company plans to help businesses with customer acquisition by offering advertisements, promoting loyalty programs, and funding discounts to drive more customers to a particular store. Additionally, early beta testing shows that customers who use Square Order end up ordering more frequently than they did before, according to AllThingsD.


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