When Groupon acquired Pelago-Whrrl recently, it was not uncommon for some to be reminded of eBay taking ownership of Where. Larger enterprises stepping into “hyper-local” easily comes to mind as the theme shared by these two events. But, maybe not. There is no doubt that expertise was an incentive in both situations, but outside of that, each acquisition had its own specific influences.
Pelago-Whrrl’s intriguing products and services definitely caught Groupon’s eye. This fits right in with Groupon’s intention to expand its offerings in the marketplace with more and more products including Groupon Classic, Groupon Now and Groupon Stores.
It is quite apparent that Groupon wants to capture new customers and handle the whole scope of customer relations; all this was up to now Foursquare’s territory. SMBs won’t be its only target, as it dedicates attention to bigger fish and name brands as well.
When things run smoothly, Milo and Paypal hook-up perfectly with Where, which is why eBay took possession. Only if a lawsuit comes into play will any patents owned by Where be used as a defense. There might be a myriad of location based service patents out there, and they might have a purpose, but they did not increase prices enough to notice much. eBay has been outspoken about all this being based on offline and online connection more than the LBS and mobile increases in statistics. Since that is Milo’s main goal and something Where can be supportive of, the end result will be more mobile and online users heading to a local outlet.
Local, as the most common marketplace, has needed and wanted to take better advantage of the huge customer base that really enjoys buying in-store. This aspect was almost missed before LBS and all the mobile enhancements. Checking out all the details is great online, but the majority love to shop at a brick and mortar location. Even the best predictions for days to come put e-commerce sales statistics at 10 to 15 percent of the total retail sales, which is an increase over the 4 percent, or so, it holds now.
It really is sort of a twist that mobile will go further with e-commerce than the big names like Amazon and eBay. Now, mobile is truly becoming “digital meets the everyday world”, represented remarkably by these two recent acquisitions; however, the characteristics of each are definitely different in their primary motivation. Fortunately, small businesses should reap the benefits that these type of hook-ups provide; it certainly is a plus when the customer comes in with a lot of information already in hand.