'

LivingSocial launches Connect as marketing push continues

With Connect, LivingSocial is adding tools such as tailored social media communications, personalized deal offers and email messages into its Merchant Center marketing platform.

The daily deals platform LivingSocial is releasing a new CRM-like communications toolkit for merchants and small businesses using its platform.

With Connect, LivingSocial is adding tools such as tailored social media communications, personalized deal offers and email messages into its Merchant Center marketing platform. It also allows merchants to re-engage existing customers by offering additional free offers or incentives. 

The company has built out its marketing efforts to include things like real time promotion tracking and direct customer communication, which are all viable tools that could appeal to the SMB merchants that make up LivingSocial's core customer base.

"Small and large businesses alike turn to LivingSocial for introductions to high-quality customers," said Kerry Lenahan, vice president of product management at LivingSocial. "With Connect, businesses now have new ways to communicate with those customers, reaching them across multiple channels before they ever come through their doors and increasing the chances that newcomers become loyal fans."

Looking at the bigger picture, the launch of Connect and other CRM capabilities are all part of the company's effort to transition itself into more of a marketing platform and away from daily deals. LivingSocial and other daily deals platforms such as Groupon have been grasping for additional revenue streams and business offerings as the daily deals market now brims with such services. And although LivingSocial was one of the early pioneers in the space, it has fallen behind Groupon in branching out beyond its core business proposition. 

This past summer LivingSocial poached former eBay executive Gautam Thakar to become its new CEO and president. The addition of Thakar was certainly in line with the company's marketing hopes, as he brought experience leading eBay's advertising business and was once the company's CMO following its acquisition of baazee.com.