By: Dana Fisher
The Internet company Groupon brought it's service to Columbia six months ago.
The company comes into a community and partners up with businesses. Groupon gets people to sign up for daily-deal coupons sent via e-mail from the various businesses.
Columbia's Kicks Shoes has used a Groupon. Store manager Trenholm Buyck heard it was positive for other businesses in Columbia.
"They're really promoting local business, so I thought why can't kicks do it?" Buyck said.
Kicks had 1,014 people purchase their $30 Groupon that was worth $75. Groupon and the retailer split the money. In this case, Groupon gets $15 and Kicks gets $15 and the consumer gets a $45 discount.
"It was extremely successful," Buyck said.
Groupon's Kelsey O'Neill says they thought the Columbia market would be a great fit.
"It's a town with a lot of local business and consumers looking to save money. The fact that it's also a college town showed us it'd be a great fit for the Groupon model," O'Neill said.
USC student Katie Morgan saw a Groupon for the yogurt store 32 degrees, and decided to see how she like it.
"It's now my favorite yogurt place in Columbia," Morgan said.
Advertising professionals are curious about Groupon's success.
"If you really look at those offers carefully and actually read the fine print and the offer that's being made, Groupon has some of the best copyrighting in the business. There's wit. There's a charm," USC Professor Karen Mallia said.
She's not the only one who thinks Groupon is the best in the business. Forbes Magazine named Groupon "The Fastest-Growing Company Ever."
Groupon claims to have over 70 million subscribers worldwide and that is has saved users nearly $2 billion dollars.
Google tried to buy the company for $6 billion, but was turned down.
The site does have competitors. Living Social and Social Buy are just a two of the sites that popped up after Groupon started.
Buyck says customers are always looking for a bargain.
"As a retailer, that's hard, but as a consumer, I understand. The economy took a complete dive and if they can get something for a discounted price, whether that be 15 percent or 50 percent, they are more likely to pay it that way that to pay full price," Buyck said.
She's thinking of doing another Groupon in August.