Several years back I wrote and actually praised Groupon for their effective use of email marketing, Well, times are a changing and I am changing as well. Groupon has recently started offering “Groupon Weddings”, a service which dramatically discounts wedding products and services. There are three main reasons why I think this is a horrible approach and why Groupon now sucks.
First: What we offer is not as common as a gallon of milk. The phrase “compare apples to apples” may apply here if we are comparing the common apple Granny smith to the extraordinary apple Honeycrisp, the latter being almost twice as much in price and flavor. Likewise, you can offer what you sell for twice the price that another may offer the same thing for, but be totally worth the difference. What we offer is typically unique to us as providers. In deeper meaning, while what we sell may be common, how we offer it though is usually unique to us. For example- if we provide wedding photography, it is not the camera, not the couple, not the albums, but the person taking the pictures that makes a difference. Their experience, their training and their personality come full into play in their businesses as well as their results.
Second: There is a horrible common theme amongst Brides that has been recurring (always there, but more so since 2008) that price makes a difference. This thought process is a true disservice to these Brides. Even though Groupon can offer lower prices, I guarantee that you can find someone who will beat that low price offered by Groupon. It’s not so much about price as it is “can you meet or exceed what the Wedding Couple expects from you/your product or service for their wedding?”. Focusing on price will talk many couples out of the vendors who can truly be a perfect match for them and their wedding and at the same time lower the quality and experience of their one day where no “do- overs” are allowed.
Third– Weddings are supposed to be elegant, they are supposed to be celebrations, not burdensome “couponing” “Pennysaver” “flea Market” cheapness. Let’s face it- the fact is what we offer is not a “must” but a “want” These “wants” are very strong desires of the girls who dreamed of the Prince Charming wedding ball since they first started watching romanticized Disney movies. They have not dreamed of budgets, savings, let alone Groupon related to their weddings.
There may be a place in the world for Groupon when it comes to buying a pizza at half price which is something we do , forget about, then do again several times a year, but there is no place for Groupon in the wedding world.
One last thought, we as a wedding professional community should fight against this approach, not because it hits our pricing. Not at all- this is not about any kind or form of price fixing, but more so because it devalues what matters to the Bride on her wedding day.
Don’t for a minute think that simply because they can do a ton of marketing for you that this will be a good thing. Candidly- they may have a very strong opt- in list of emails, but this will set your bar very low if you partake and will be almost impossible to lose that perception, if not with the wedding couples, with your fellow wedding professionals who should be referring you. Years ago, we went through the same/similar process with Craig’s list and look where we are today.
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