Facebook Launches Notify App To Lend Its Notification Center Reach

What Happened
On Wednesday, Facebook rolled out a new iOS app called “Notify” to allow users to receive push notifications from publishers and other brands of their choice. Upon logging in with Facebook account, users are asked to follow “stations” that they are interested in, which include a variety of content publishers such as BuzzFeed, CNN, Vogue, Getty Images, and The Weather Channel, plus Groupon and Fandango. The notifications will direct users to designated web pages where they can consume the content or, in Groupon’s case, find more about its Deal of the Day.

What Brands Need To Do
Although Facebook does not feature any ads in Notify for now, there are certainly opportunities to offer sponsored “station” suggestions for users to follow. From a content marketing perspective, this new app can offer brands a new channel to stay connected to consumers and deliver their branded content. Not every brand has the resources to develop their own app and incentivize customers to download it, and Notify can provide those brands with an alternative way to infiltrate the lock screen and reach consumers via notifications.  


Source: The Verge

Header image is a promotional image courtesy of Facebook Newsroom

How Digital Retailers Are Entering The Local Market

As more and more brick-and-mortar retailers branches out into ecommerce in order to meet shifting consumer behaviors, online retailers are also increasingly exploring new, innovative solutions to bridge the physical with the digital, especially when it comes to local markets. This week, Groupon and Amazon stood out as two most recent examples.

Popular local deal-finding service Groupon just updated their iOS app to add support for the Apple Watch. On the watch, Groupon taps into the location data on the watch to trigger hyperlocal deals for users—instead of dividing deals on a city or regional level, it only notify users of the offers that are in close proximity. It also offer a “one-click-to-buy” function if user’s payment info is already saved on the Groupon mobile app, creating a remarkably seamless shopping experience to the wearable device.

If Groupon’s entry into Apple Watch seemed a bit advanced and out there, then Amazon’s new experiment would look endearingly retro in comparison. After testing out pop-up storefronts in NYC and California last year, the ecommerce giant continues to tap into physical retail with a new “Amazon Treasure Truck” initiative. Launched in Seattle this week, an Amazon truck will be cruising through various neighborhoods carrying stocks of one daily special item. Customers are encouraged to use their Amazon mobile app to track the truck and learn more about the daily deal. If interested, they can just complete the purchase within the app and then proceed to meet the truck for pick-up.


Header image taken from Amazon’s Launch Video on YouTube

LivingSocial Lays Off 10% Of Workforce

Living Social laid off 400 employees this week– roughly 10% of it’s global workforce. With Groupon’s stock price tanking throughout 2012, it’s fair to wonder if the daily deals party is over.  A quick survey of the Lab’s employees indicates that while people still use the sites, they’re increasingly turned off by sketchy deals and the saturation of offer emails and companies in the space.  From the perspective of big brands, there’s also concerns that slashing prices too deeply will undercut reputation. 

“Groupon Surfers” Game The System

When I ran in to a friend on the subway this morning who came straight from the gym, I asked a standard question but got a very surprising answer.

ME: What gym do you go to?

FRIEND: Well, it changes.  Groupon has so many fitness deals that I keep switching gyms and saving money.

It turns out that if you live in New York City, since last September you could have purchased an entire year’s worth of gym trials on Groupon for $177, and that includes… wait for it… 5 personal training sessions.  You’d be saving $1,323 and going to three very reputable gyms that are conveniently located (no Staten Island trips necessary!).  Since September of 2011, your Groupon fitness options included Gold’s, Sheraton Fitness, Synergy Fitness, New York Sports Club, and Crunch—and that doesn’t even include the daily deals possibilities on Living Social and other sites.

My friend calls this “Groupon Surfing” and I suspect he’s one of many doing it, though it’s hard to say how many.  I imagine that on the whole there are many more Grouponers that fall in love with one gym by their apartment and stick with it, but it’s always interesting to see how people find loopholes and opportunities in the system.

The Groupon Surfer is really the ultimate bargain hunter, willing to go to great lengths to mash-up related deals into one monster deal.  Rare as that may be, for critics crying that Groupon carries more risk than reward, Groupon Surfing may be another demerit to add to the list.



4 words that may change shopping forever

“I’m hungry.” “I’m bored.”

Groupon is building an entire experience around these four simple words with a unique little app called Groupon Now. The idea is that users open the Groupon Now mobile application and are presented with two buttons: “I’m hungy” and “I’m bored.” After selecting an option, the application presents users with a list of time-sensitive deals based on their location.

“It makes Google’s market look quite small if we get it right. It’s really tapping into the largest part of commerce in the U.S.—local,” says Groupon investor Harry Weller. Continue reading “4 words that may change shopping forever”