The second-biggest website for daily deals, LivingSocial will use a $183 million investment led by Amazon.com Inc. to overtake market leader Groupon Inc., the company’s chief executive officer said. Everybody loves a bargain, a discount, a deal or a steal. And for families on a budget – and really who isn’t these days – finding a great price on things for your family has become of the utmost importance. And a couple of companies are banking on this need for paying less…Living Social and Groupon. But which will prevail and will the battle of the coupon wars?
LivingSocial will more than triple its employees next year to 1,800 and more than double the number of cities where it offers deals, CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy said in his first interview since the Amazon.com investment was announced last week. That would bring the service to 300 markets, about the number that Groupon now serves with its staff of 3,000. In an interview last week he was asked “I know that you don’t want to talk about competitors. But LivingSocial’s CEO said in a Bloomberg article that Amazon’s investment will ensure they’re not bringing a knife to the gun fight. What are you bringing to the table?” His answer?
“Having a $183 million investment is an important part of making sure we’re not bringing a knife to a gunfight,” O’Shaughnessy said. “If you want to be the biggest player in local commerce, having an investor that’s the biggest player in e-commerce seemed like a really smart thing to do.”. “Smiles and teddy bears, like always. We’re bringing a focus on building a great product that consumers and merchants love to use. Everything else takes care of it itself.”
LivingSocial also will begin focusing more on excursions such as skeet shooting and beer tasting. In October, the company bought Urban Escapes, which offers deals on vacations, events and guided tours. By mid-November, LivingSocial had sold more than 10,000 such trips, which it dubs “Escapes.” While the deals are usually riskier for the company, since they may involve renting out a venue in advance, they typically have higher margins than most products sold on daily-deal sites, O’Shaughnessy said.