Groupon purchases Mertago to change social shopping

Groupon has purchased member shopping site Mertado. Will it change our online social shopping behaviour and make us more loyal to the brands we buy from?

Groupon has purchased social shopping platform Mertado. Will it change the way we shop online?

Mertado was launched in April 2010 and backed by angel and venture investors. It offered products for the home, offered member only access to its exclusive deals and created a social commerce community. Through the community members could find and access offers suited to their personalised requirements.

Groupon Goods was launched last September for its US subscribers.  You can purchase discounted items from Groupon Goods at a discount, and the supplier ships the goods directly to you. You can also deal directly with the supplier to purchase directly with your Groupon discount code

Groupon has been trying to build its portfolio and increase its social commerce offering. It acquired social messaging and engagement platform Campfire Labs whilst it was still in stealth startup mode last month.

Misplaced loyalty?

Lots of us are loyal to Groupon itself -- but we are not loyal to the brand making the offer. We go from Groupon deal to Groupon deal. We rarely go back to the brand again -- unless there's another offer from the brand itself.

To get brand loyalty, brands will need to work with Groupon Goods / Mertado to encourage loyalty amongst their social shoppers. Encouraging deals to be shared widely brings in more revenue for the brand offering the loss leader.

Groupon has redefined how local advertising works. The grouping of like-minded people drives pricing down. The brand benefits, we all benefit. Social shopping is popular right now. Elizabeth Yin reckons it is 'a sign of a shift in how folks will buy in the near future'.

I will be watching Groupon closely for its next move in the online shopping space. If it gets its acquisitions right it will be a formidable player and it will fundamentally change our online shopping habits.

And other online social shopping sites will need to up their game...

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