Industry leader Groupon may end up regretting not taking up Google on its takeover offer. Not only does the company have many competing group buying websites operating or planned, both on national and local scales, Facebook has set up their teaser page for their offering Facebook Deals.
Facebook is simply massive and has more momentum then any other online properties at the moment, including Google. The site boasts over 600 million users, many of whom check their Facebook accounts multiple times on a daily basis. You probably have people on your friend’s list that instantly respond to everything you post or comment on via a cell phone or smartphone application. Facebook has become large part of so many lives.
With the launch of Facebook Deals, the team behind that largest social networking site on the planet has sent out a message to Groupon and other group buying websites that they’re looking to take a chunk of their market share. They are willing to use their financial might as well as their massive user base to offer similar services to businesses via their networks. Live in Toronto? You could have instant access to a number of deals from local businesses looking to offer you special pricing in order to gain foot traffic and new customers. While Groupon had to build their following over time in order to make their customer’s promotions successful, Facebook already has a massive captive audience at their disposal.
Facebook Deals is currently showing five cities available in its initial phase including Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, San Diego and San Francisco. Once they have their product in place though it won’t take long for companies to start lining up to market their business on Facebook. I suspect that Facebook may even forego local sales representatives in many areas due to the fact that many business owners are on Facebook already, have setup Fan pages for their companies and would feel comfortable starting their own promotions. Simply have a company sales representative review the request, discuss the percentage split and confirm details before queuing the deal for publishing,
Should Groupon be concerned about Facebook Deals? Most definitely. So should all the small local group buying sites that have built a niche for themselves. While establish local sites may have a decent user base, there’s no way they can compete with the Facebook’s marketing power, their ability to target geographic areas and the number of potential customers in most key demographics that Facebook can provide to local companies.