Groupon announced what it's referring to as a "bold initiative to build a page that lives on Groupon and search engines for almost every local business in the United States."
The initiative is called Groupon Pages, and is essentially business listings on Groupon, but those that should turn up in a search on Google or Bing, not entirely unlike Yelp pages.
"By giving local businesses access to the millions of people that search our marketplace, we’re dramatically increasing the number of merchants on Groupon and providing our customers with yet another reason to always check Groupon first," a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews in an email.
We'll see if the search engines think these are the pages consumers should be checking first.
"We’ve already built more than 7 million pages and collected more than 20 million validated ratings and helpful tips from real customers to highlight the unique aspects of these local businesses," they add. "Ex. There might be 10 sushi restaurants in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. (There are probably more.) We’re still going to show you the four places where we’re currently running a Groupon deal, but we’re also going to show you ratings, tips, money-saving opportunities and other useful information for the other six businesses."
The company says it's leveraging its "vast knowledge and experience in local commerce" to create transactional spaces for merchants, where people can also find deals, which can influence their purchases.
Merchants can claim a page, and manage its content. The pages can be personalized, and can include links, business hours, phone numbers, addresses, photos, and testimonials. Merchants can publish specials, coupons, and promotions.
Groupon will provide feedback to businesses based on surveys they send out every time customers redeem deals or claim merchant coupons/specials. The pages let merchants directly engage with customers who leave feedback, which can be helpful whether it's positive or negative.
On the consumer side, people can follow specific merchants, and get updates about them, including new deals. They can also request deals. If enough people request one for a business that isn't running a deal, Groupon will reach out to the merchant to try to come up with one.
People can also use business pages to recommend the business to others and leave tips. They can even earn verified status.
The most beneficial part of all of this for businesses may be increased search visibility, assuming Google ranks these pages favorably, which seems like a real possibility.
Image via BusinessWire