Anyone on the Groupon-watch the past two months knows that the enormously successful daily deals pioneer has received some recent criticism from merchant partners. Mostly because their small businesses are often overrun by stampeding, coupon-carrying customers, but some issues have surfaced about how certain deals have been managed.
Enter Groupon’s new Merchant Center, a self-service platform that lets businesses run their own deals through Groupon. No more negotiating, no more waiting and no more hassle – merchants simply visit the center’s homepage, sign up and are managing their own deals within days.
The huge benefit for merchants, of course, is the ability to use the incredibly popular Groupon platform, for which the two-year-old company will take a commission. Commissions are 30 percent of every sale that Groupon actively helps promote, and 10 percent for those it doesn’t promote.
The self-service model is an interesting new direction for the startup that began the group-buying craze in 2008, and it will be interesting to see how much momentum it builds. The traditional Groupon deals will of course remain available to merchants, who often spend as long as a month or more preparing to launch them – and then sometimes complain about the results.