Groupon’s Mobile App Arrives

Groupon’s mobile app, reputedly ready to change the face of mobile commerce, has arrived. The app is as billed: very simple and easy to use. It does not, it should be said, have two buttons reading “I”m hungry” and “I’m bored.”
The Groupon Now app hints to the promises and challenges that await deals services as they move from an email framework to mobile. The mindset is different with the phone, since location is obviously key. I tried the app for the first time on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The deal I was presented was for Indian food in Kips Bay, a good 35 minutes away by circuitous subway route.
Therein lies the challenge for Groupon — and rival LivingSocial. The ante is upped on mobile to be even more precise with deals. In New York, it can be a matter of several blocks, while other car-oriented cities surely have wider latitudes. But no matter what, the challenge is Groupon will have to amass a massive database of deals to draw from based on location. Combine that with time-sensiitivity and it’s a major undertaking.
The big advantage of the app is it can be used to redeem offers — no need to print out emailed coupons. This could make deals even more popular, particularly when coupled with SCVNGR’s recent deal with American Express to allow LevelUp to redeem deals just by using their credit card at the establishment.
Groupon is clearly betting big on the app. It sent out an email to its tk million subscribers today offering $10 in Groupon Bucks for using the app. This money-for-nothing approach has been used to great effect by Groupon rival LivingSocial, which in January offered a $20 Amazon gift card for $10.

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