You don’t understand us.
That’s the message from new Groupon CEO Rich Williams, who penned a blog post on Thursday titled “Why We’ll Win in Local” and dispels “myths” related to the company’s past, present, and future.
“Groupon is a misunderstood company,” Williams wrote. “We’re misunderstood by analysts. We’re misunderstood by media. We’re misunderstood by consumers — both those who haven’t visited our site in awhile and those who’ve never purchased from us. We haven’t done enough to tell our story over the past few years. And we haven’t always been humble about our hits and misses.”
Williams, an Amazon veteran who started Groupon’s Seattle engineering offices after joining the company in 2011, explained why Groupon is not just an “email daily deal company” that is no longer growing. He noted that since Groupon went public in 2011, billings and revenue have grown by 90 percent and its customer base has doubled.
“What we haven’t done is consistently meet the expectations we set,” admits Williams, who became CEO two weeks ago. “We’re not growing the way we believe we can grow given the size of the opportunity in local and the potential in our platform. Both of those are going to change.”
Looking ahead, Williams said the company plans to shift its marketing strategy, streamline its operations, and move away from “empty calories in Shopping” like the consumer electronics business.
Much of what Williams outlines in his post lines up with his comments on last week’s GeekWire Podcast, during which the new CEO acknowledged challenges facing the company but said he believes Groupon is better-positioned than anyone else to bring the power of the Internet to local commerce. Listen to our conversation with Williams here.
Groupon, which slashed 1,100 jobs in September and has seen its shares fall nearly 65 percent over the past year, operates a large development center in Seattle where nearly 300 people work across marketing, engineering and related areas.