Taking a "page" from the Yellow Pages, merchant deals brand Groupon has announced a new product called "Pages" that brings together seven million merchants in one place.
The concept is a familiar "local business listing and discovery" product, offering ratings, tips, images, hours and contact information, and the ability to "request a deal" from the business. This certainly helps Groupon convince merchants of interest in a deal, and harkens back to the original concept which was opt-in with friends.
The new setup for merchants is intended to broaden Groupon's appeal to merchants by providing more nuanced marketing tools beyond simply the daily deal - a group buying model that defined Groupon's rise but also marked its fall.
By also allowing new merchants to claim their business pages, Groupon brings new merchants into the ecosystem, and can then have more appeal to Groupon users. Newly-claimed listings are also then lead generating tools for Groupon's merchant marketing engine.
It's also important to note that Groupon has done an excellent job of transitioning to mobile, which was the focus of a recent Tnooz interview with Groupon Getaways. Over half of Groupon's transaction volume is derived from mobile, so the enhanced Pages product allows for a more engaging platform to be built for mobile.
This latest entry into the local merchant space comes only one day after Apple announced a way for local businesses to claim and manage listings on Apple Maps, and also goes directly into competition with other merchant discovery services such as Yelp, Google, and Yellow Pages itself.
When it comes to Yelp specifically, that company also offers claimable business listing pages and consumer deals. Yelp also has a popular mobile app, which many travelers and locals use to discover new and nearby businesses. By stepping into this territory with images, deals, ratings, and other social functions, Groupon Pages hopes to capture more mindshare from current users and entice loyalists - both users and businesses - from other local discovery platforms.
Groupon is still searching for the secret sauce to make it all work, and this latest product gives the company an evolved foundation far enough removed from the unfashionable "daily deals" stigma to maybe find more traction than previous initiatives by giving a more mobile-first, nuances approach to local business discovery.