Groupon launches world's first offline store in Singapore

Daily deals site's first retail concept store officially opens in Singapore; may roll out similar stores worldwide if successful.

SINGAPORE--Daily deals site Groupon has officially launched its first retail concept store here, that could pave the way for more around the world.

The Groupon Shop allows customers to redeem lifestyle products and has a showroom for them to test some of the products sold. It includes facilities for them to buy, print and redeem their coupons on the spot.

The shop has been in operation since May  and the company says it has seen "promising initial results".

During the press briefing, Karl Chong, CEO Of Groupon Singapore , said the offline store allows the company to reach out to customers more conveniently and to deliver greater customer service.

Chong said the idea for a brick-and-mortar store was proposed by the Groupon Singapore team as local customers preferred to obtain goods as soon as they have purchased it.

The Groupon Shop will be used as a guide for other global Groupon operations if it is successful, he added. The company will be monitoring the traffic of the shop and the number of new users who have signed up at the store to determine if other countries should have the same concept, Chong said.

Adrian Tan, chief operating officer at Groupon Singapore, shared that the company previously had a redemption center located at another shopping mall, HarbourFront Centre. However, the site was too small, which led the company to decide on a more central location at Suntec City.

Singapore market still in "infancy stage"
Groupon Singapore was established when Chicago-based Groupon acquired local daily deals site Beeconomic in December 2010.

While Chong could not share the revenue growth of the local business, he said since the acquisition, the number of employees have grown from eight to more than 140 in the one-and-a-half years.

The CEO believes the local daily deals market  is still in the "infancy stage" and has not reached saturation. As U.S. e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay do not have strong presence in the country, Chong said Groupon Singapore hopes to fill the gaps in online shopping here.

Last week, Groupon's Chinese joint venture merged with a daily deals rival FTuan . Chong declined to comment if Groupon Singapore would do the same in the local market and added that both companies are operated separately.