Groupon (GRPN) recently turned five years old, much to the dismay of the many Wall Street critics who thought the company wouldn’t last this long. Despite some major struggles in 2012, GRPN has been able to reinvent itself the stock price has been in bull mode ever since. Last year, GRPN stock gained almost 150%.
At first, the business exploded. But unfortunately, it also attracted an onslaught of competitors. There were also problems with fatigue from consumers, who started to complain about sheer volume of email offers.
While GRPN remained the clear leader in the business, it had lots of troubles, and the company’s CEO and co-founder, Andrew Mason, lost his job last March. In his place came his partner, Eric Lefkofsky, who wasted little time in reinventing the company. While he still kept a focus on deep discounts, he made the savvy move to make the website and mobile app a place for users to search for deals.
But Lefkofsky has taken some other key moves as well. If anything, GRPN is a very different company noways. Here’s a look at some of the company’s biggest changes:
Major GRPN Change: Mobile
When GRPN got its start back in 2008, it was part of a group of emerging Web 2.0 companies. But within a few years, mobile became a huge force. And for the most part, GRPN has been able to capitalize on that trend. Consider that in North America the company is the largest mobile local ecommerce operator. In the latest quarter, it logged more than 9 million downloads of its app — bringing the total to more than 60 million.
Major GRPN Change: Digital Coupons
Digital coupons have become popular over the past couple years, especially with the growth in smartphone. One of the leaders in the space, RetailMeNot (SALE), went public in July and the shares are up about 38%. Well, GRPN wants a piece of the business too. So it recently launched a program called Freebies, which has more than 5,500 merchants, including American Eagle (AEO), Best Buy (BBY), Macy’s (M) and Nordstrom (JWN). Given GRPN’s strong mobile footprint, this initiative could get some nice traction.