As a consumer, I no longer bother with any of these deep-discount offers made by small businesses. I once bought one of those coupon books, then found getting the discount was a “tough pull” at small businesses. Large businesses, no problem; it was not coming out of the hired help’s pocket. But either the employee on duty at the small business thought it was a scam and made me get out the meat cleaver to get the discount, or the owner felt obliged to get his money back by trying to upsell me or go for the “full load”. The old adage “there is no such thing as a free lunch” still applies. But I realize the pros here want to know if it makes business sense for them to participate in these offers.
The funny thing is that I have never been able to find any unbiased studies documenting how groupon and its clones affected the bottom line of participating businesses. Since this is a food forum, I looked at the alleged Restaurant Case Studies on groupon’s website for businesses. Lots of talk about how many groupons they sold and how much store traffic they generated, and how groupon helped them with the whole process etc. etc. but no hard numbers on how it affected their bottom line. We all know about cherry pickers.