One of the big drawbacks historically of Groupon — at least in this shopper’s humble opinion — is that the daily deals require way too much advanced planning. In other words, you can’t just find discounts at nearby shops or restaurants as you wander around in a neighborhood.
The Chicago daily deal site recognizes this challenge as an opportunity, and it is attempting to solve it with Groupon Now. Like the name suggests, Groupon Now allows shoppers to find real-time deals on food, entertainment or other services and cash in on them immediately (from the Web or mobile phone).
The service just launched in Seattle last week with more than 450 deals, including discounts at local restaurants such as Porchlight Coffee, Red Mango or Seattle Fudge.
Groupon introduced Groupon Now in April, and to some degree it is the equivalent of the happy hour. Deals in the service are listed for set periods of time, typically off hours for businesses. For example, you can receive a 50 percent discount today at Double N’s Salon between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be some Seattle area startups watching the debut of Groupon Now very closely, including Pirq.
Led by former “Apprentice” star James Sun, the mobile service operates in much the same way as Groupon Now in that it allows restaurants to tailor deals in real-time for specific parts of the day.
Can Pirq make its mark now that Groupon Now has arrived in the Emerald City?
UPDATE: As VentureBeat reports, Groupon also just updated its privacy statement.
Here’s a closer look at how Groupon Now works.