I assume that “sale!” signs in retail businesses are usually just BS. The stores keep normal prices higher than they should be so they can offer customers a faux discount. Whether it’s always true or just often true doesn’t matter. People don’t really get all that excited about signs that say “HUGE SALE 50% OFF” or whatever. We’re desensitized to it.
Groupon has been different, though. They’ve had real discounts, verifiably way below normal retail costs. That’s why so many tens of millions of people look forward to their Groupon email every day, and why so many people sign up for skydiving lessons that they never knew they wanted.
There are signs, though, that the model may not scale infinitely forever. Beyond just common sense, I mean. Some merchants have failed to take the coupons they’ve already sold on Groupon when they saw the overwhelming volume it brought in, for example.
Groupon seems to do a very good job of returning money to unhappy customers in those situations. And by doing that they’ve kept their brand strong and synonymous with getting genuine good deals.
Not today though.