Google Coupons -- what is next? Admittedly, this is a pretty good idea, but I am curious as to how likely it is businesses will use the service. How does the massage therapy business down the street hear of it -- and will they know how to use it effectively if they do? Is there enough value for businesses?
These are all hard questions, and I confess that the answers are unclear to me. However, I am almost certain that if I was to any random business and ask them what the "Google Local Business Center" is, I would be looked at with a blank face.
This service needs to be integrated with an entire customer relationship management suite -- something I think Google should work on as part of the local business initiative they are clearly interested in. If -- and that's a big "if" -- that product get's any sort of leverage, features like coupons could be a valuable addition that everybody would understand.
Now how do people hear about the service? Why not pay people commission to do the dirty work? Google could have a whole fleet of sales people that would be happy to get paid to "sell" Google services. Of course, the registration process would only allow people to sign up as a certified seller of Google services if there are any positions open -- almost like a paper route.
After a business signs up for the Local Business Center, they can immediately begin adding coupons. Before you begin, the page explains why you should consider using them.
Let Google users print your coupons and bring them to your business. Coupons will appear alongside your business listing on Google Maps.
A new way to attract customers. Adding coupons to your listing in Google Maps will bring new customers to your business. The better savings you offer, the more customers you'll gain.
It's free and it only takes a few minutes. Just enter a few lines of text for your coupon, set an expiration date, and tell us which of your locations accept the coupon. Users will start seeing your coupons within a few hours.
The printable coupon that is created is nicely formatted. There is an auto-generated ID associated on the final product, but I'm not sure what to do with it. It would be nice if there was an interface (maybe in a CRM solution one day?) where you could enter the coupon code and it will say if it's valid or if the user has already used the coupon. It could even be used to identify the customer and return lots of information that would normally require manual data entry at the point of sale (like customer name, address, etc.).
I do think this feature has potential as a piece of a larger project, but I am in doubt that it will gain any traction on it's own. What do you think? Will businesses learn of this service on their own? And if they do, will they use it?