Daniel Guasco is the CEO of Groupon South Africa. After co-founding Twangoo which was later acquired by Groupon, he has led the coupon website to great success. We speak to Daniel about how it differs from other group buying deal sites and his thoughts for this method of consuming in the future.
Tell us about Groupon and how you think it differs from other crowd-purchasing deal sites?
Groupon is a Nasdaq listed global company with a presence in 48 countries around the world. This means a lot of access to shared knowledge and experience from a variety of markets. We can identify trends and consumer preferences. We also benefit from the most advanced technology and trends so can expose our partners to a wealth of metrics that they would never have the opportunity to use without huge investment.
How do local and international competitors differ? And does this change the strategy of Groupon from country to country?
The competitor landscape in established markets is obviously a lot more closely fought, whereas in South Africa as an emerging market we haven’t yet had a competitor come close to rivaling us with size, choice of partner and back office support.
What really distinguishes us from our competitors here in South Africa is the fact that we can respond incredibly quickly to an opportunity. We have detailed plans for cities and have set very defined targets for our sales guys. It has been an incredibly steep learning curve for us; purely because of the enthusiasm that the South African market has embraced the group-buying concept with.
There have been growth problems, especially with some delivery and supply challenges that are obviously pretty unique to our emerging markets. The good part is that because of the international co-operation, we can anticipate where the opportunities will lie in the future as the market and infrastructure develop and mature here, which is great for our partners and our consumers.
How does Groupon sustain a South African flavour when it is a global brand?
Groupon needs to localise all their initiatives as this is what is at the heart of our mission. We want people to experience their own cities in new ways and try out things that they typically wouldn’t even consider or be aware of. The way Groupon differs to traditional marketing platforms is that we encourage consumers to experience our partners products instead of traditional media advertising that simply informs the consumer of the partner. It’s a new way of thinking about things and that’s really exciting, but obviously we need to couple that with some stronger educational initiatives for consumers this year too.
Did the acquisition of Twangoo affect the brand identity of Groupon?
No, it allowed Groupon to gain a larger foot print and enter Africa.
Since the acquisition, you are contracted to three years as CEO of Groupon SA. What are your plans after that?
I will be wherever Groupon is. I am passionate about the brand, the concept and the opportunity for South Africa.
How do you see group-buying changing in 2013?
Obviously I am expected to say that I imagine it growing, but I really do believe it will. With the increase in broadband and better access to e-commerce platforms, consumers will become more confident and comfortable online. Their expectations will rise and therefore the standard expected of the big players will need to rise accordingly too. It’s exciting times ahead.
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