Picture a method of advertising that doesn’t involve flashy ads or fake promotions. It attracts customers by the hundreds by guaranteeing cheap deals for consumers, and most importantly, it’s free.

We are not charging merchants to be on our site, and when the deal goes live, they have thousands of customers come through their doors. That has never happened for local marketing,” said Julie Mossler, Consumer Marketing Manager of Groupon.

According to the August addition of Forbes Magazine Groupon is the fastest growing business ever, faster than Google, Yahoo, and Ebay.

In just two years, the Chicago-based Groupon says its concept takes the risk out of the relationship between local retailers and online coupon services. It works like this; a customer purchases online vouchers for goods or services. If enough customers buy the Groupon vouchers local retailers get a cut of the profit. But if the vouchers don’t sell, the local retailers are charged nothing and Groupon refunds the consumer.

“We are different from the traditional guys because there is no cost up front to participate,” said Mossler. “We have a handle on what local marketers need, and what small businesses need when it comes to marketing.”

Several businesses in Naperville are pleased with Groupon, and they say they’ve noticed a boom in business.

“We are getting people that didn’t even know we were here,” said Raffi Demerdjian, owners of Raffi’s on 5th Avenue.“They are saying ‘we love this place,’ and we want to bring people back. That’s what I want to do. I want to get people in the door.”

“The impact was immediate,” said Angelique Brunsman, Marketing Director and Manager at Hollywood Palms Cinema in Naperville. “We sold 5,000 tickets on our first day.”

In this economy, business owners want to know Groupon is here to stay and will provide value to their bottom line.

“I was nervous. We were giving away absolutely huge coupons and gift certificates. And they would get $ 45 in gift certificates back. Every Groupon that sells, I only get 10 dollars of it,” said Demerdjian

“We were concerned how when one person printed the Groupon and couldn’t’ just print the same Groupon and use it over and over,” explained Brunsman.

So far the concept seems to be affective. Groupon says 97% of businesses featured once want to be featured again. Groupon is also hiring 100 people a month in its Chicago-based office to service 40 markets nationwide. Talk about a business that’s booming.


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