Author: Michaelean Pike
Groupon has connected consumers with local businesses through special discounts since 2008. Many archery retailers use Groupon and other deal-making websites to push new customers through their doors.
If you’re unfamiliar with Groupon, here’s how it works: A business offers a coupon or discounted service or product on the platform. Consumers see the offer by searching for local deals or signing up to receive emails with deals that might interest them. They then buy the deal through Groupon.
Groupon offers several benefits for businesses, especially small businesses. Unlike other advertising platforms, Groupon doesn’t make the business pay upfront. Instead, Groupon gets its cut when consumers buy your deal, making it a low-risk way to put your brand in front of consumers.
Charles Roof knows that Groupon can be worth it for your business in the long run. Photo credit: Impact Archery
That’s how Charles Roof, owner of Impact Archery in Las Vegas, views his experience with Groupon, which he’s used over five years. “The only downside — and it’s kind of a downside, kind of not — is that they take 50 percent of your revenue, so you’re getting a fraction of what you’d normally get,” he said. “But with other companies I advertise with, I pay a flat rate. Sometimes you get customers, sometimes you don’t. With Groupon, they take revenue based on sales. So it’s in their best interest to advertise to the fullest extent to try to make them more money and make me money.”
In addition, Groupon helps archery retailers reach attractive consumer demographics. With 49.3 million active customers, the platform appeals to younger consumers (68 percent are ages 18 to 34) and female shoppers (77 percent of Groupon users are women). That means your shop will likely be seen by consumers you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
Some business owners believe Groupon deals signify a dying business, but that’s not true. In fact, daily-deal websites like Groupon are great ways to ensure your business thrives. Consumers are more comfortable trying new activities — like archery — when receiving good, no-lose deals.
Groupon deals also help you reach existing archers and bowhunters unaware of your shop. That’s a great way to inform them of a nearby pro shop with all the customer service and expert advice they need.
Blake Novak of Diamond Archery in Wichita, Kansas, said Groupon is a great way to grow his business.
Groupon piques the interest of tourists and gets them into the range. Photo Credit: Diamond Archery
“Our campaign for Groupon is a two-hour Genesis bow rental for one, two or four people,” he said. “It’s actually our hourly rate, which is $25, and so they just get it for two hours for that rate. Right now for two people it’s $30. If they had just walked in the door, it would have been $50, but at the same time we’re getting people we cannot target through Facebook or through our advertising.”
Novak notes that working with Groupon customers is easy. “Literally, it takes us about 10 minutes of work to get them going,” he said.
Roof’s Groupon deal involves instruction, range time and equipment rental for groups of two or four. Because he offers instruction, his Groupon customers required more time to set up.
“At first, we would take a new shooter out and show them the ropes,” he said. “It was about a 10-minute-long instruction, and their shooting time would start when the instruction ended. We were doing so many of these in a day — dozens and dozens — that it became very tedious to say this same instructional speech over and over.”
Roof devised an ingenious way to streamline the process for Groupon customers. “I had a film crew produce an instructional video going over (our lesson),” he said. “When we have a new shooter come in, they watch this video, which is on repeat all day. Then we take the shooters out on the range and we reinforce some of the stuff in the video. We’ll stay with them a few minutes, and check in on them from time to time.”
Cool, but here’s the big question: Do Novak and Roof retain Groupon-driven customers?
Well, no, not usually. But they still think Groupon is good for business.
“Typically, Groupon people … have never shot archery, period,” Novak said. “They just use it for a date night. We look at it as people we’ll probably never see again, but it’s a fun date night for a lot of couples, and they may recommend us to someone they know. It’s extra money we would never, ever see otherwise.”
Roof thinks only about 5 percent of Groupon customers return, but his range is a fixed cost. “I pay my rent regardless of whether I have one shooter or a hundred shooters come through the door in a day. Any customers who come in are contributing to my fixed costs. And it’s profitable. I have the paper targets printed at a local company inexpensively. The rental equipment we use has been paid for many times over. So the majority of [what I get from Groupon] is profit.”
Groupon helps Roof capture part of the money tourists bring to Las Vegas. “A lot of my customers, especially tourists, will be scrolling through the Groupon app just looking for things to do, and archery pops up,” he said. “They think, ‘I’ve never done that,’ and they reserve it. But that thought would have never crossed their mind if they hadn’t been going through Groupon. They’re not going to Google search ‘archery.’”
You might expect a Vegas shop to see lots of tourism business, but Novak said Christmas also sparks Groupon traffic when people visit a nearby family. These visitors would be almost impossible to reach through other advertising, and they likely wouldn’t have considered archery if not for Groupon. The coupon likely triggers impulsive family-night visits to the range, which ensures a fun evening.
Those out-of-town visitors might also ensure sales. “Maybe somebody in their family is a bowhunter,” Novak said. “We do get extra sales from people in that scenario.”
Gifts aren’t the only items Groupon customers pick up. “We sell some of our own logo shirts off of it,” Novak said. “Very few, but some. Everything it brings in is a bonus with minimal effort.”
Roof also uses Groupon to alleviate dating-on-purchase stress. Instead of using Groupon profits throughout the year, he sets them aside in a special savings account. “When my dating is due, I have a lump-sum payment ready to go, and I’ve made a little interest on it,” he said.
Although retailers hope to turn everyone walking through their doors into repeat customers, Roof and Novak show that you can boost business through Groupon even if most of those customers never return. It’s important, however, to price Groupon deals high enough to ensure you still make money. Learn what prices other nearby activities charge, and set a competitive price without eliminating your profit.
Want to know if Groupon is right for you? Check out Groupon (and other deal sites) to see what offers might work for your area.