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Could Chicago-based Groupon take over the world starting with River North? Well, only time will tell, but we have a feeling it may happen now that they're putting the finishing touches on Groupon Now, a mobile app that will connect customers with real-time coupons for retailers in their vicinity. Groupon Now deals will be time-sensitive and only last a few hours which allows businesses to have greater control and create flash sales.
Two months ago, one of our haunts, @Spot Cafe in River North on Larrabee, hooked up with Groupon Now for a test run but? it didn't quite work out. When we asked a spokesperson from Spot, they pulled the "it's not you, it's me" routine which is a pretty polite way to turn Groupon down. @Spot Cafe's reasoning was that the deals may only attract existing clientele. The app was supposed to be launched in April but was pushed back to address the problems found in the test run. Groupon Now will be available only in Chicago later this month.
Last month Groupon hired an ex-Google exec Margo Georgiadis as their new COO. She'll be helping sustain Groupon's growth and make sure business isn't lagging while Groupon prepares to go public on the NYSE and also be helping organize Groupon's global staff of 6,000. With over 23 million Americans purchasing on Groupon last year and criticisms by businesses who use the site, the addition of Margo is a nice addition to the team.
Additionally, Groupon bought Whrrl, a Yelp meets Foursquare hybrid designed by Jeff Holden, a Seattle-based developer who was in charge of personalization and product-discovery technology at Amazon before developing Whrrl. Holden now is now Groupon's senior vice president of product development.
· Groupon [Official Site]