Groupon is not wasting any time in trying to corner the market on location-based deals. Less than a week after partnering with location service Loopt for its Groupon Now campaign, the daily deals giant is said to be in partnership talks with Foursquare to target deals at its check-in users.
All Things D reports the talks citing sources familiar with the matter. The move fits in well with Groupon modus operandi - they are known move fast and be extremely aggressive to stay ahead of the competition. With all of the Groupon clones and competitors lining up in the daily deals market, Groupon has to try and stay a step ahead.
Our Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote about and the Loopt/Groupon partnership last week and a couple of the points he makes fit well with the rumored Foursquare deal. Groupon needs to diversify its distribution channel. Email lists and search are its primary distribution and its rollout of Groupon Now helps them branch out into mobile and location. Groupon Now targets mobile users one-on-one, as opposed to group coupon buying, with deals near them.
Foursquare will be another avenue for Groupon to break into the location-based deals market but also adds an important layer that Groupon does not have a specific stake in - social.
Groupon's social footprint is tied to whether or not users feel like spreading deals on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With Foursquare, Groupon could tie itself in to the check-in game - a friend checks in to a business with a deal and it Foursquare pings friends who are close telling them of the deal. It could widen Groupon's footprint and the immediacy of the deal, driving sales to the merchant, Groupon and Foursquare.
If Groupon is serious about moving into social, location and mobile, there are a couple other deals that be of interest to the company. For instance, Groupon could help provide context of a location by buying a location-discovery app like It Happened Here that tells mobile users interesting historical locations around them. Say a user is in Washington, D.C. and wants to know what is around them. Groupon Now shows them places where there are deals where they can eat or shop and integration with It Happened Here could provide context, such as the staircase in Georgetown that the priest in The Exorcist tumbles down at the end of the film. Providing location context would be an incentive for users to open the Groupon Now app more often to see what is around them and subsequently provide more visibility to deals.