Co-Authored by Theodora Kimmel
It is official; as Crain’s Chicago Business reports, Groupon has created the Groupon Wedding Shop. It just goes to show the radiance and glow of opportunity that is the wedding industry. Even large corporations and companies want to grab a piece of the illustrious pie.
Now wedding businesses may not only be exposed to local (and in some cases global) audiences through Groupon deals, but can be found together in one place on Groupon, known as the Groupon Wedding Shop.
For consumers, they can peruse global direct-to-retailer online-only Groupon deals, as well as connect with local wedding-related businesses offering deals through Groupon.
As Brendan Byrne writes in ValueWalk, “The Chicago-based Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) is no longer interested in being known for its often invasive daily deals that began their run into hundreds of cities; instead, the company is interested in being known as an ‘e-commerce marketplace’ that is evolving and changing each day.”
Comparing other practices in the wedding industry to the Groupon Wedding Shop one might liken it to an online Bridal Expo plus coupons. Groupon has amassed hundreds of wedding related businesses, allowing the consumer to view business, their locality where applicable, and the special deals offered.
What is unquestionable is that the model of the Groupon Wedding Store has appeal both for business and consumer.
The potential for business benefit is obvious. Here businesses have the opportunity for a targeted wedding audience exposure.
The question then becomes is if the Groupon Wedding Shop venture will ultimately be successful, and what this will mean for wedding businesses.
There are several potential downfalls. Groupon, being a large company with huge business sprawl, may not realize the key distinctions of the wedding industry.
Firstly, just like a standalone wedding business, success lies not in merely garnering mass appeal, but linking what is offered with niche-appeal. Couples-to-be look for what is special about a business when it comes to planning their wedding. It is a reflection of their innate desire to make this day special. The Groupon Wedding Shop may not connect with the real purchasing incentives of couples-to-be. The excitement of a finding a deal of a local business may not match the excitement of finding the right item or service for one’s wedding.
Moreover, the Groupon Wedding Shop offers no ratings, reviews, or real consumer insights. Showing the number of people who bought the item, and how it may be fairing on the Social Media channels is a good thing. It is no comparison, however, to a genuine, written, personalized review directly on the item page. This is another key stronghold of success in the wedding industry. Potential couples want to know what other people think of what is being offered to help with the decision-making process.
Furthermore, while Groupon’s imagery is captivating, many of the deals are available only through online purchase. This means the Groupon Wedding Shop offers no way for customers to put their hands on the products. That also means opportunities for personalization or customization, if appropriate, has not been maximized, nor utilized at all.
Lastly, for service-based items, the customer does not have the option of meeting with the service provider first, and developing a personalized relationship. This is another distinct component of wedding business practice. Because of the short amount of time deals are available, if a customer wants to meet with a service provider, they would need to act very quickly. This could mean that the Groupon Wedding Shop Groupon-like emphasis on convenience through discount (and/or location) could actually become an inconvenience to the consumer-mentality of wedding customers.
Perhaps couples may utilize Groupon fractionally for their wedding-related needs, or may stumble across Groupon opportunities accidentally. It will be interesting to, however, see if the Groupon Wedding Shop can really be able to hone in on the particulars of the wedding industry consumer audience.