How Groupon hurts loyal customers

I went to the gym and I could hardly park my bike which made me wonder if there was a special event going on. As I entered the gym it was incredibly busy and the first thing that came to mind was “Oh no, not Groupon” which was immediately confirmed with a sign at the reception desk stating “We currently cannot process any more Groupon members.” There were more signs stating “Because classes are too full we are handing out entry tickets 15 minutes before the classes start. Full is full” and “We have placed extra lockers for your convenience in the hallway.” When I entered the dressingroom it was hard to find a spot to get changed and I started wondering how full the gym would be and if it would mean waiting in line for gym equipment.

The place was packed. I talked to my instructor who sighed and said that they accepted 600 new members through a Groupon deal. I previously had a discussion with friends about Groupon where one friend ordered a deal and then the company was so overwhelmed they didn’t even pick up the phone anymore (Groupon refunded the deal quickly, thumbs up). Another friend was skeptical about the concept because how can you keep up the quality if you offer the same deal for 1/2 price. My gym experience shed a new light on Groupon and how it affects both businesses and their existing loyal customers. The Groupon invasion created a different gym experience for me, one of waiting and not being able to relax due to the crowdedness of the place. While it is also up to the business to be able to deliver what they advertise, “The Groupon effect” should not be underestimated.

4 thoughts on “How Groupon hurts loyal customers

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  2. I know we go to the same gym, and yes, the “Groupon effect” has made it a much less pleasant place to go to (the cramped dressing room alone is a maddening experience!). My personal hope is that the Groupon deal-chasers will lose interest and eventually stop coming. This happens a lot to people who sign up for gym memberships anyway, but in this case I wonder how much more likely impulse buying is with Groupon (I would guess a lot) and therefore proportionally how much more likely it is that you’ll sign up for a year and only last a couple months.

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