The daily-deal operator offers high-priced goods.
Zak Stambor , Managing Editor
Groupon Inc. says it is responding to its shoppers’ demands for upscale offers by sending them e-mails featuring a number of high-end products, such as $2,499 vintage Chanel handbags.
While the e-mails look much like the marketing messages sent through its Groupon Goods physical goods service, the daily deal operator, No. 65 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, is marketing the high-end goods e-mails using its Groupon Reserve brand, which debuted in 2011.
Though Groupon generally buys the majority of the products it sells via Groupon Goods from other retailers and wholesalers, a spokesman for the daily deal operator declines to say whether a similar approach applies to Groupon Reserve. Chanel did not immediately respond to a request regarding whether it provided Groupon with its vintage handbags.
The move to sell more premium products fits Groupon’s long-term plans, Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky said in July. "Groupon Reserve is an important step in our journey to become the leading marketplace for online deals, where consumers can come to Groupon and discover great businesses at unbeatable prices,” he said “As Groupon has evolved, we've seen growing demand from our customers for upscale offers and exclusive experiences. "
Groupon’s large member base—it has more than 200 million e-mail subscribers and nearly 43 million shoppers who have bought in the past month—distinguishes Groupon Reserve from other member-only online retailers that sell high-end products at a discount, like Nordstrom Inc.-owned HauteLook and Gilt Groupe Inc. that have fewer subscribers, says a spokesman for the retailer. He says that Groupon.com users are more than twice as likely as non-Groupon.com users to live in households with annual incomes of at least $100,000.
Offering more premium physical goods is the latest evolution of Groupon Reserve since the daily deal operator launched the brand in 2011. Groupon Reserve initially was an invitation-only service featuring offers for high-end food and restaurant deals. Then in July, Groupon relaunched Groupon Reserve and added a reservations tool that lets consumers book tables and procure discounts. Groupon plans to add hotel and spa reservations to the tool soon, the spokesman says.