Why daily deal sites need mobile apps to succeed

Since Groupon introduced the concept of online daily deals to the masses two years ago, scores of like-minded sites in Chicago alone have entered what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

So if you are thinking about joining the fray, understand that having killer mobile applications for the iPhone and Android devices is just as important as launching a website. Daily deal services in particular rely on impulse buys and the ability to capture potential customers in the exact time and location of their choosing. A happy hour, for example, is better promoted through a smartphone push notification when a prospect is passing a bar than it is via an email when they are sitting behind a desk in their office.

These Chicago-based companies excel at offering local deals to smartphones owners.


It’s absurd to write a list like this without profiling the elephant in the arena. The company’s hope of raising billions in an IPO could hinge on the success of its Groupon Now service, available as iPhone and Android applications. Groupon Now is all about location-based instant gratification, and consumers in Chicago and select markets across the country are taking advantage of multiple deals near them that are offered (and expire) at different times of the day.


Of course, no new company can expect to capture Groupon’s lightning-in-a-bottle success. Being funded by the people behind Groupon, however, is still pretty good place to start. Poggled was able to raise $5.6 million from Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell because of its laser focus on one particular area – drink specials!

While the website is nice, for most users it’s more practical to see a beer tasting deal when walking by Fizz Bar and Grill on Lincoln Avenue or a discount on Bottle service at The MID when in the West Loop. Poggled also has apps for the iPhone and Android phones.


With new daily deal providers emerging seemingly everyday, smartphone owners need to determine the services that are best for them or risk messing up their screens with icons only used once or twice. DealRadar is a handy app and website that broadcasts deals from several providers that are happening near you. Currently, it’s only available as an iPhone app.


The developers behind Dealavue say they focus more on their mobile apps (currently only available on iPhone with an Android app coming), than their website. This allows them to have creative promotions like sending push notifications for cheaper cell phone options just as a customer walks into a rival store.While this by no means is a complete list of local daily deal services with mobile apps (not to mention providers from outside of Chicago that offer local deals), it illustrates the variety of approaches entrepreneurs and young companies are making in this white hot industry.

Do you have a novel idea for a daily deal app? If so, what are you waiting for?

This article was first published by our friends at NBC Chicago and the Inc Well Blog how-to blog for Chicago business.

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