Talk about a phenomenon. Groupon launched in November 2008 and in less than two years became a juggernaut in the world of collective buying. After rebuffing a buyout offer from Google in 2010, the company accelerated its plans for an initial public offering, which may come as soon as this summer. As of January, the company valued itself at $15 billion and employed more than 4,500 people worldwide. That’s a lot of growth in just two years.
The secret behind the company’s growth is simple: Groupon offers deep discounts every day on everything from theatre tickets and food to relaxing spa treatments. Consumers still in the grip of hard financial times scoop the deals up in droves. In fact, when Groupon launched its first national deal with Gap over the summer ($50 worth of apparel for $25), 441,000 Groupons were sold in a day. The benefit for merchants is an influx of customers that may translate into repeat business.
If you haven’t jumped on the Groupon bandwagon yet, here’s what you need to know to get started.