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Google Offers Makes Debut

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Heard of Google Offers yet? If not, chances are that you will. In the past, Google has been wildly successful integrating new technology with its existing search engine, applications and platforms. Google Offers comes on the heels of Google's failed attempt to acquire Groupon, a leading daily coupon website.

The launch city is Portland, OR, with NYC and San Francisco waiting in the wings. For those unfamiliar with the concept, local businesses typically offer a good or service in bulk quantity at half-off price, i.e. $20 of food for $10, etc. Google's twist on the concept comes in the form of Google Wallet integration, which will remove the bar code/printed coupon element from the equation, thus providing more efficient functionality.

Here in Lexington, options currently include Groupon and Pete's Deals. What does your local business gain from participating in such a program? Well, the usual benefits from any coupon program, plus a bit more.

First of all, your business is assured of a certain volume, as the offer only becomes valid once a certain, predetermined number of users purchase it (though this may not be so with offers found on LivingSocial). Additionally, unlike placement within a coupon book where space is shared with other businesses or an in-house flyer where the reach is limited to the number of people who come across it at your place of business, your offer gets exclusive marketing for a full day to every member of the website. Ideally, this is a better use of marketing dollars and has the potential to drive new business in two ways: those curious enough to become first-time customers at a discounted price and also those who are repeat customers excited to return at a reduced rate.

Either way, it's worth considering as another way to cut through the web's increasingly muddled branding terrain.