While the social network isn’t doing away with its direct-sale initiative, it is focusing its attention on ads that drive consumers to retailers’ sites.
Groupon’s gross billings last month increased 6%, better than the 2% average.
Groupon Inc. extended its lead over its daily deal competitors in November, growing at a 6.2% clip month over month when measured by North American gross billings. The overall daily deal industry increased by 2.2% to $273 million compared to $267 million the previous month, according to data compiled by daily-deal aggregator Yipit. Meanwhile, gross billings for LivingSocial, the second-largest player in the market, decreased approximately 3.7%. Yipit had no year-over-year data.
Groupon generated $154 million in North American gross billings in November, compared with $145 million in October, thanks in large part to its Grouponicus holiday-centric offering that aggregated gift-worthy items across flash-sale service Groupon Goods, travel provider Groupon Getaways and ticket discounter GrouponLive. Thanks to Grouponicus, both Groupon Getaways and Groupon Goods increased their gross billings by more than 50%.
LivingSocial had $52 million in North American gross billings in November, down from $54 million in October. That’s despite the daily deal operator’s push to enter the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frays by offering deals from national retailers such as OfficeMax Inc. and Blue Nile Inc. on the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving. Even though LivingSocial sold nearly 150,000 vouchers on the weekend following Thanksgiving, its overall billings for that week totaled $9.5 million, a 29.6% dip from $13.5 million the previous week. OfficeMax is No. 9 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and Blue Nile is No. 60.
In an effort to extend its lead in the daily deal space, Groupon today launched the Merchant Center, which features tools including a performance dashboard that enables businesses to view the performance of their deals across Groupon’s various offerings, such as Groupon Now, which offers limited-time vouchers to consumers based on their location, and Groupon Rewards, its loyalty program. The dashboard enables merchants to track customer comments, customer acquisition and incremental customer spending.
“Our merchants’ needs are evolving,” says Mihir Shah, Groupon’s vice president of product. “The Merchant Center brings the big picture to the forefront while delivering granular data for each Groupon service, as well as insight into how they’re performing with customers.”
Among the features on the Merchant Center dashboard is a customer feedback tool that shows results from surveys conducted soon after a consumer uses a Groupon voucher. The tool includes direct quotes and overall recommendation ratings from customers who have recently redeemed vouchers. As of today, nearly 1 million consumers have participated in the surveys.
Both Groupon and LivingSocial are featured in the 2012 Hot 100 List, which can be ordered here.