How Groupon Ruined My Group-OHM

I know that Groupon is everyone’s favorite way to get a deal for whatever they didn’t even know they wanted. Marketers love this easy way to add new customers quickly. Even though it drives traffic to stores, Groupon members sometimes experience the downside, as they can be shoved to the back of the line as ‘discount customers’ or are disregarded because they’re suspected as people who tip too low, expect too much and turn out to be one night stand customers. But lately I’ve uncovered another underbelly of the program, the Groupon drop-in’s who wreck the regulars’ service experience.

Case in point: I belong to a yoga studio in Manhattan where I practice early mornings twice a week. I love the class not only for the teacher but for its handful of quiet, lovely people who show up before sunrise.

A couple of months ago, I walked blissfully into the studio and almost tripped over the crowd of newbies who had suddenly assumed every inch of space. I know it’s unyoga-like, but I felt annoyed. Where did this crowd of downward dogs come from? Why were they asking so many questions, butting into my mat, exhaling so loudly? The teacher confided later, “We did a Groupon deal…don’t worry, they’ll be gone in a month.” And they were.

I love a bargain, and bargains are often to the key to successful marketing to women. I’m happy that Groupon creates business growth for retail. But I wonder if there’s a secret sabotage brewing, namely the unspoken resentment of the full paying customers. What if they take their money elsewhere to avoid the Groupon Groupies? What if make the Groupon visitors feel like outcasts? Not that I did, but hey, I’m looking for inner peace, not a lot of company. Namaste!

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