I joined Groupon a few months ago, and just made my first purchase. At lunch today, a friend asked me about the process, so I figured I ought to write about it.
You register at the website. Then Groupon informs you, by e-mail, of deals with businesses in the area. You can also search the website if you are looking for something in particular. It seems to me that many of the best ones are for restaurants and other personal services.
I received an e-mail saying that Asha Salon and Spa has an offer. One hour massage and half hour facial for $82.
Asha is not my regular place by any stretch. It is a very nice Aveda establishment, but rather pricey for my needs. This deal was basically 50% off. The catch with Groupon is that you pay for the service up front. So there was no way I was waiting more than a billing cycle for my appointments.
After taking my credit card information, Groupon sent me an e-mail with an order number and redemption code. It had a link to redeem it and was also printable.
I remembered that Asha is in Schaumburg, by my office (which is how I found it). I hate staying in Schaumburg after work, so it was either drive out there on Saturday (rolls eyes) or take a half day off.
I chose the latter.
I went online to redeem the Groupon. The instructions were specific that the appointment had to be made online - no phone calls to the salon. Weird. And worse, the website wasn't working for me. I logged back on later and it was fine - I think it had something to do with the pop up menus.
Asha's web site asked me to pick three dates and times and they got back to me with which worked, and then I had to confirm the appointment. All set.
I arrived 15 minutes early, per the instructions. I was helped right away and led to the dressing room. I had just stepped out the door when the aesthetician came for me. Both appointments were great. No one made me like less-than-a-full-fare-client, which I think is important. (The travel industry hasn't picked up on that trick yet.)
When I checked out, the lady at the register asked for my Groupon certificate. And that was it. Pleasure doing business with you.
Note: Tipping etiquette says that we should base our gratuity of the full price of the service, not the Groupon price. I was familiar with the practice, but appreciated the reminder from Groupon. However, by the time I got to the appointment, I had forgotten the full prices. I knew the total was 50% off, but hadn't remember how much was for which service. I may have skimped on someone. Will know better next time.
I will certainly use Groupon's service again if the deal is right. But I am still not inclined to go trolling the website searching for it.