Groupon Squares Up To Rivals With Groupon POS, An iPad App And Dashboard For On-Site, Mobile Payments

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Apps, eCommerce, GT, Mobile, Technology
Tags: ,

Groupon is once again expanding its portfolio of
mobile payment services, putting it in closer
competition with the likes of Square and PayPal’s
here targeting local merchants: today it has released
Groupon POS, which appears to be an iPad-specific
version of its mobile payments service aimed at local merchants, working as a dashboard to make and
track payments. This is the latest development in Groupon’s payments
strategy and helps fill out founder and now-ex-CEO
Andrew Mason’s strategy of Groupon becoming the
“operating system for local commerce.” It shows that
while Mason is now gone, the direction that he
envisioned for how the company would diversify beyond daily deals remains. It is also a sign of how the company is continuing to
push mobile services. Last week, in its Q1 earnings
report, Groupon noted that it had 41.7 million active
users (meaning those that have purchased a Groupon
offer in the last 12 months). In North America, still the
company’s largest single market, some 45% of transactions were completed on mobile devices, up
from 30% a year ago. In Q1, the company said that
more than 7 million people downloaded Groupon
mobile apps worldwide. The Groupon POS iPad app is the fourth of Groupon’s
mobile payments services. Last year, Groupon took
the plunge into mobile commerce with the purchase of
Breadcrumb, a point-of-sale iPad app for restaurants
to help manage customer orders and payments, as
well as seating plans, employee timesheets and more. Later it expanded that with payments for other
businesses in its Groupon Merchants app for iPhone
in September 2012 and then Android in January 2013.
Both of these use a Square-like dongle to accept card
payments via a mobile handset. The Groupon POS app appears to be a simplified,
more generalized version, of restaurant-focused
Breadcrumb: “Groupon POS works for a wide variety
of merchants from cafes and delis, to salons, spas,
and florists,” the company writes in its app description
in Apple’s App Store. Like Breadcrumb, Groupon POS integrates with the
dongle-based Groupon Payments offering in the
merchant apps. Also like Breadcrumb, it can work
alongside an “optional cash drawer and printer to
automate and simplify your point of sale.” It’s not
clear if Groupon plans to ship Groupon POS along with these extra devices as part of its promotion of
the new app (it did this with Breadcrumb back in
October 2012). While Groupon is trying to match companies like
Square on a product-for-product basis, it is looking to
be competition-busting (and merchant-attractive)
when it comes to transaction fees. The fees that Groupon charges Groupon Merchants
for Payments are 1.8% on Visa, MasterCard and
Discover when swiped, 2.3% when keyed in, plus
$0.15 for each transaction. American Express pricing
is more complicated as it is “determined by American
Express based on your industry category.” The rates range from 2.3%-3.5% (swiped) and $0.00 to $0.15
per transaction, says Groupon. For non-Groupon
Merchants, the fees are higher: 2.2% when
MasterCard, Visa and Discover are swiped, plus
$0.15 per transaction. Square meanwhile has two
options: a flat 2.75% fee per swipe, or $275 per month with no fees per swipe — with the latter aimed
at higher-volume users, or those who like to gamble
that they might be. Like Breadcrumb, Groupon POS appears to be only
available in the U.S. for now. We have reached out to
Groupon for more details about Groupon POS.

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