Groupon Attempts to Personalize the Shopping Experience

Groupon continues to expand its approach to e-commerce with yet another start-up acquisition. This time, the company of the moment is Adku, a personalized shopping company based in San Francisco. In a blog post on Adku’s website about the acquisition, they write: “We started talking to Groupon to bring our technology to more customers and quickly realized that we wanted to be a deeper part of a company that people love and is empowering merchants and customers in a way that’s never been done before.”

Groupon’s continued effort to “be a deeper part of a company that people love” focuses specifically on integrating location-based technology into its e-commerce repertoire. This inclination has manifested itself through other acquisitions as well as through opening up Groupon kiosks in tourist destinations.

These ideas of localization are still unfocused, considering that optimizing shopping experiences for tourists doesn’t exactly align with the idea of becoming part of a community’s social fabric. While combining both social and location-based technology could join the new marketing standards of personalized e-commerce experiences, it doesn’t yet address the concern that voucher sites aren’t viable in the long term. Suspicions regarding Groupon’s inability to build customer loyalty are already present, and catering to tourists looking for a one-time deal only contributes to that image.

As Econsultancy speculated about the Adku acquisition, though there are plenty of retailers who rely on tourism, the lack of appeal to long-term customers begs the question of whether it is wise for Groupon to pursue new commercial avenues rather than streamlining their approach to (potentially) more valuable long-term strategies. In the short term it’s hard to say which direction Groupon will pursue, but for the time being, the stories of vendors swamped with sudden Groupon-related demand will continue to roll in.


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