By |2019-06-11T10:57:48+01:00March 7th, 2019|

When Groupon started I used it quite a bit.

A common sense concept at its core I think.

A neat way to get to a big audience quickly so you can tempt them with a killer offer and – when you have their attention – wow them!

Except, that’s not my experience.

The Groupon Effect.

Discounting is only relevant to certain types of business. That’s a given.

But if you are a business where discounting is an acceptable part of your business strategy, beware of doing things backwards.

Basically, in my Groupon days I was mostly treated like crap.

Eeew. You’re a Groupon customer…

I experienced (or at least imagined I experienced) smaller portions, longer wait times, poorer service, grumpier faces, less personal interfacing (he’s just a Groupon customer…),  bits missing and unadventurous thinking.

Why? Because most businesses are stupid.

They’re doing things backwards.

Think Long Term.

If you’re discounting, this is by definition a long term strategy.

Because you are sacrificing profit and if you do that you must recoup it somewhere along the line.

So if you’re getting me to your hotel and I am, on that occasion, a Groupon guy… make me feel like a king!

Give me bigger portions, shorter wait times, better service, happier faces, more personal interfacing, add-ons and adventurous thinking.

Because the only reason you want me there as a discounter, is to turn me into a loyal fan.

Think short term if you like. Give me a smaller steak and fewer chips to save you a bit of money.

But I won’t come back.

100% off.

Just this month a really great magazine gave me the opportunity to be featured in their wonderful publication for free.

But when I asked to proof the copy and take a look at the context in which the content was positioned they said, nah, we only do that for paying customers.

I don’t know why this magazine wants to teach me what it is like to be a non-paying customer.

I wanted them to teach me what it’s like to be an important, valued paying customer.

So I could be so blown away that I decide to become one.

I always prefer long-term relationships to short-term ones, so I am there for the taking.

At one of my other businesses, Always Wear Red, we never discount and we never will. But we do occasionally gift pieces.

So yes, that’s as deep as you can go.

100% off.

Clearly if I want to minimise the short term loss, I place one of the world’s finest cashmere scarves in a carrier bag. Because that saves me money and time on the packaging, the high-end point of sale materials and the time it takes to assemble and hand label and attach and trim ribbon…

But of course I don’t do that.

I do the opposite.

Because, just like every paying customer I have to make you feel like a queen or king. You have to feel like you’re our only customer. You are one of the most important people in my business.

A customer isn’t just someone that pays you for something, it’s anyone that interacts with your brand.


Anyhow, all that was about is how to treat people in business.

Even when they’re getting it for free – wow them!

Be amazing!

That’s the whole point.

And anyway, you don’t want to do anything at all unless you do it superbly well, do you?

Your personal pride wouldn’t allow it.

‘Thought not.


About the Author:

Michael Owen
A.STORIES allows us to share what we've learned from advising some of the world's best brands. And from leading our own brands, too. With you. We've been where you're going. So wherever you're headed - with ANGELFYSH at your side you're navigating familiar territory. Please call +44(0)7960 117077 to see how we can help. ANGELFYSH. CONSULTANTS THAT DO.


  1. Stuart Fearn 9 March 2019 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Having purchased the most perfect items from you twice now, received such exceptional service with the finishing touch of personalised quality packaging, I can say it makes you feel good.

    The little free surprise package made you feel even better and value those same things even more so. TBH I probably wear those fantastic Merino Wool Socks on a weekend more than any others, label and colour red a showing.

    I definitely used Groupon, felt the same lacking service and that the opportunity was missed except once… I took up a photography taster session for £20 a day including a banquet lunch. Went on to train for a year and spent £5k!

    Hmm, many get it wrong but those who see past the short term discount maybe can create the opportunity.

    I generally feel though that Groupon is just out to screw the seller/trader and really doesn’t care… So stopped using them…. Also must pick that camera back up one day..

    • Michael Owen 20 March 2019 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Hello Stuart

      Thank you for saying the nice things.

      I do appreciate it.

      And we love your pics!

      I think that when GROUPON is great… it’s GREAT!

      Everyone can win.

      “Hey, GROUPON, you got me here… so WOW me!

      So I come back.”

      When you purchased a cap from us, we were flattered and honoured and we tried to treat you as well as possible.

      To make you feel great and to thank you.

      And when you kindly purchased again, we tried hard to make you feel the same way.

      Then, when you kindly allowed us to send your brilliant, beautiful daughter Ava a pair of our socks just because we wanted to – then we naturally tried once again to make Ava feel superb.

      The same hand written note and hand sewn packaging.

      It has been a privilege all along.

      So thank you.

      AWR is changing.

      That’s why we’ve been a bit quiet.

      I am just about to start working in some new directions I think Stuart so I’ll let you know more soon.

      Thank you again for staying in touch.


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