These Cities Are on a Roll – The Top Sushi-Loving Cities in America

Get your chopsticks ready – Saturday, June 18 is International Sushi Day. To celebrate the occasion, Groupon is honoring the Top 10 Sushi-Loving Cities in America over the past year. And we know sushi––having sold enough rolls to line up end-to-end for 670 miles.

Compiling our ranking required several long nights working through boatloads of raw, nori-wrapped sales data. Our findings were calculated using sushi deal sales over the previous 12 months, balanced against the subscriber base of each city, providing the following ranking:

1. Memphis 2. Louisville 3. Kansas City 4. St. Louis 5. Minneapolis
6. Boston 7. Cleveland 8. Houston 9. Baltimore 10. Salt Lake City
Memphis claims our top spot, lead locally by the very popular 45% off deal at Akita Sushi and Hibachi Steakhouse. Perhaps Midwest cities should have more rolls named after them, with St. Louis (4), Minneapolis (5) and Cleveland (7) all claiming spots in our ranking. The “Cleveland Roll” sounds delicious.

From Anchorage, Alaska, to Washington, D.C., Groupon customers can find a great deal for International Sushi Day in just about every major city in America. Check Groupon for some inspiration on how you can celebrate Saturday in your neighborhood.

Majority of Parents Have ZERO Activities Planned with their Kids this Summer

If Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, then why do the majority of  parents have no activities planned for their children once they’re out of school? And do you fall into this group? Well, you are not alone.

According to a recent nationwide survey of 1,000 parents commissioned by Groupon, 57 percent of respondents said they had absolutely nothing planned for the family this summer. Which is baffling, considering that a whopping 99 percent of those parents DO want to do something fun and exciting with their kids over the summer months.

Parents were also asked in the survey what the perfect summer looked like with their children, and the results were expensive. According to respondents, the idyllic summer consists of: six BBQs/dinners out, five movie/beach outings and two overseas trips. Though respondents reckon that the total cost for those experiences would come in at around $43,154.87.

“Many parents aren’t aware of the number of affordable local activities they can do with their children over the summer months,” said Greg Rudin, head of fun things to do at Groupon. “By taking full advantage of the amazing things to do around their neighborhood, building long-lasting family memories can be done on just about any budget.”

The average family will travel nearly 600 miles together over the summer, according to the survey, with most vacation destinations between four and five hours away by car.

A day at the beach was considered the top family activity, followed by visiting an amusement/water park and having a classic backyard cookout.

Most – 85 percent – look for vacation activities within their home state. Parents in the West were most likely to want to take their children overseas with those in the Midwest least inclined to do so.

When it comes to travel outside of mainland USA, the Bahamas and Australia are among the dream destinations.

Unsurprisingly, the internet is the top source of inspiration for summer vacation ideas, ahead of word of mouth and traditional advertising, the survey revealed.

The survey also reported that parents are now looking to give their children experiences rather than gifts – and said their kids were 18 times more likely to benefit from an experience throughout their entire lifetime than a toy.

“Research has shown that people increasingly value experiences over material things, especially with friends and family,” Rudin said. “Now is the perfect time to get out there and create those memories by trying something new that you’ve always wanted to do together.”

Top 10 Essential Family Summer Activities

  1.   Beach
  2.   Water park/amusement park
  3.   BBQ
  4.   Out of state visit
  5.   Movies
  6.   Road trip
  7.   Hotel stay
  8.   Camping
  9.   National monument visit
  10.   Fishing

Top 10 Dream Family Vacation Destinations

  1.   Hawaii
  2.   Disney World
  3.   Bahamas
  4.   Australia
  5.   Washington DC
  6.   Miami
  7.   New York City
  8.   Virginia Beach
  9.   Canada
  10.   Japan           

For inspiration on some great things to do with your family this summer, click here


The Fittest Cities in America

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated May 8 – 14, 2016, as National Women’s Health Week, and Groupon is celebrating the occasion by honoring the fittest cities in America over the past year.

‘Fitness’ encompasses a wide range of activities, and local pride is strong — it’s not nice to step on the toes of someone doing a perfect Warrior I. Fortunately, the leader in local commerce, with its mountains of local deals data, is happy to stair-step up to the challenge.

We tabulated Groupon sales figures for everything from boot camps and boxing to yoga and zumba over the last 12 months, accounting for the size of a city’s subscriber base along the way, to arrive at our second-annual fittest cities in America rankings.

America’s Fittest Cities

  1. Albuquerque
  2. Memphis
  3. Omaha
  4. New Orleans
  5. Louisville
  6. Oklahoma City
  7. Providence
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Tallahassee
  10. San Diego

Albuquerque, one of the top cities in last year’s ranking, continues to be a warm weather fitness mecca for Groupon customers. Cities in Southern states ran away with our rankings, represented by Memphis (2), New Orleans (4), Louisville (5) and this year’s Florida standard-bearer, Tallahassee (9). Finally, San Diego, a city you are not at all surprised to see in our rankings, ensured that California was not shut out from this year’s list.

Congratulations to the communities on this year’s list! Groupon invites everyone to check out our amazing local health & fitness deals on the way to a healthier you.



Say Happy Mother’s Day with a 3-D Printed Model of Yourself

Many people don’t get to spend enough time their moms, which is why Groupon is offering an exclusive Mother’s Day gifting opportunity that will leave the woman who raised you feeling like you never left. Through Groupon, SWIGRO, a 3D printing manufacturer in based in Auburn, Ala., and official distributors of the BigRep ONE the largest 3D printer on the market, is offering one person the chance to create a “3D You” version of themselves for Mom for $30,000. Once your 3D You is delivered, Mom will be able to take you along for all of her favorite activities and experiences such as getting a pedicure, going to lunch or attending a Broadway musical.

We’re thrilled to offer one person the opportunity to give Mom what she loves most: endless quality time with her children. With a 3D You, Mom will always have your undivided attention and support even when you can’t be there.”

The entire 3D You Mother’s Day package entails:

  • Life-size, painted 3D You
  • Travel to establish framework and blueprint for 3D manufacturing (up to $2,500)
  • Shipping and handling to anywhere in the continental United States

Other suggested activities for you and your 3D You:

  • Savasana (corpse) yoga poses
  • Blink-free family photos
  • Couples massages
  • Tandem skydiving
  • Trapeze classes
  • Tubing down a lazy river

To view the complete Groupon Mother‘s Day Gift Shop, please visit the Mother‘s Day tab in the Groupon mobile app or

Dear Stockholders

In 2015, Groupon continued on its mission to become the daily habit in local commerce — making some of our most significant progress on this front in our seven-year history.

We introduced 1.5 million new customers to our marketplace, we added more than 300,000 active deals to our platform, and we continued to make strides in local and mobile commerce with more than 100 million transactions occurring on a mobile device.

Customer Growth

We also hit the reset button in some key areas. We made a series of fundamental changes to the business, reprioritized aggressively, and implemented a new strategy that we believe sets a stronger stage for long-term success.

Even as we endured some short-term bumps in the road, we moved quickly and decisively because we believe the opportunity in local is simply too vast, our overall operational advantage too strong and our team too talented to let competitors or markets dictate our path. While we have not always done a good job of telling our story, I am energized by our progress and leadership position and look forward to spending my first full year as CEO building on our momentum.

Taking a Step Back

Before going further, I’d like to take a step back. What do we mean when we talk about the “opportunity in local”?

Local commerce is a multi-trillion-dollar global economic engine, and it’s proven to be among the last spaces to benefit from the internet and mass mobile adoption. There are tens of millions of diverse small businesses around the world, and for the most part they have yet to be fully connected to and enabled by technology. And they’re all looking for customers.

The vast majority of these merchants aren’t marketers by trade. They’re largely living out their dreams of making great pizzas, giving amazing massages or helping people discover the world around them. Even when they have the expertise, many lack the time and resources to effectively market their businesses.

Groupon was built around connecting small businesses with consumers at scale. Combining our loyal and active customers with our local marketplace has proven to be one of the most effective small business marketing channels ever — one that comes at no up-front cost to merchants, and yet has resulted in billions and billions of dollars flowing into small businesses and neighborhoods around the world.

No one has proven to be more effective at coupling relevant local offers with high transactional intent. And we’re only getting better, having evolved from a daily email company to a largely mobile marketplace with tremendous scale and a number of levers business owners can use to grow and succeed.

Given that we are just seven years old, and given the millions of merchants and hundreds of millions of consumers with whom we’ve yet to work, we see the opportunity as vast, our team talented and our competitive position strong.

Building the Daily Habit in Local

So what then does it mean to build the daily habit in this vast local commerce space? Our roots as the daily deal email company are fundamental — it helped make the Groupon brand a household name and synonymous with saving money. Few brands ever achieve that kind of position or equity, let alone in seven years. The downside is that as we’ve expanded our value proposition and evolved beyond the daily deal email business, we didn’t bring customers along with us as quickly as we could have.

Being the daily habit in local means that customers don’t just wait for their morning Groupon email — something that tens of millions of our customers do every day — it means that they think of Groupon when they’re hungry, when the kids are bored and need to get out of the house, or when they need a manicure or haircut. That habit will be reinforced by our customers knowing that they’ll find amazing value on Groupon, whether that value comes in the form of a great discount or via being able to make an appointment and tip and pay at a small business without touching a wallet.

Achieving our mission means that Groupon is a transactional and marketing engine for local commerce. It means bridging a vast white space that many internet and mobile technologies have yet to reach. It also means so much more to the communities in which we operate.

While building the daily habit could very well mean that Groupon becomes an even bigger business and creates a lot of shareholder value over time, it should also mean that we’re making a significant positive impact on neighborhoods around the world. We believe that winning in local means that small businesses are winning, which matters on a level much deeper than dollars and cents.

Money into Local

Small businesses are the economic backbones of the neighborhoods we live in. They are also job creators, meeting places, cultural hubs and, occasionally, local legends. They are at the core of what makes “your” neighborhood special and often times what keeps your neighbors employed. We shouldn’t — we can’t — lose that. Groupon is committed to giving small businesses the tools to do more than compete — we’re here to help them grow and win. When that happens, we all win.

Focusing the Business, Driving results

When I took the CEO post last November, I focused the business on a few key initiatives. I said that we would streamline how and where we do business, that we would dramatically increase our customer acquisition efforts and that we would move away from empty calories — those low-margin product categories that drive short-term revenue but fewer long-term benefits — particularly in our shopping business. For 2016, we added making dramatic improvements to the customer experience to our priorities.

Our most significant changes in 2015 involved how and where we operate. We became a leaner, more efficient and productive company as we took a hard look at where it made the most sense for us to do business.

One Billion Groupons

At the beginning of 2015, we operated in 47 countries. By the end of 2015, we operated in 28. We took a broad approach to this initiative. In some cases we found partners to help fund future investment in markets we think have great promise. In some cases we streamlined the business to focus on local businesses, rather than products. In some cases, we exited a market entirely, simply because winning there did not deliver long-term returns or justify the short term investment. In all cases, we focused and rationalized the business, creating regional shared service centers for our deal factory and customer service groups in order to generate operational leverage and a more consistent customer experience.

When complete, we will have a geographical footprint and operating model that we believe is significantly more sustainable.

We also made a strong bet on the future of Groupon — our customers. Simply put, we had not grown our new customer base at a rate commensurate with the potential of our marketplace. In the second half of 2015, we began to significantly expand our customer acquisition efforts to better match supply and demand on our platform. We decided to invest an additional $150 to $200 million in marketing to better match customer demand with the growing supply of deals on our platform. This work will continue throughout 2016, but the early results confirm that people everywhere are looking for great value, and looking to Groupon to deliver it in a local, relevant way better than anyone.

Next came our Shopping business. It is a growing part of the Groupon experience and something our customers consistently tell us is interesting, fun and a trusted source of value. However, we had also become too reliant on what I call “empty calories” — those product categories that generate short term revenue gains, but less in the way of long-term customer loyalty or support. We decided to move away from these items and focus on the categories that generate healthy margins and bring customers back to the site again and again. We made strong progress here, even through the price-competitive holiday season. 2016 is off to a good start as well.

Making the Customer Experience Great

We spent 2015 focused on the fundamentals — three key areas where we could quickly make bold moves to drive the business over the long term. In 2016, we intend to make dramatic improvements to the customer experience. As we add tens of thousands of merchants to our platform, as we drive millions more customers to our marketplace and as we make our shopping category a true advantage for us, it is imperative that we make the total Groupon experience unmatched.

While we have made improvements, today’s core Groupon experience isn’t all that different than it was a few years back. Consumers and merchants still experience too much friction when redeeming a Groupon. Expirations still vex customers and pose a barrier to new purchases. Our customer service levels must catch up to the expectations our customers have for our brand.

Our advantage here is that we have cemented our position as a leader in mobile commerce and a trusted mobile utility for our customers. Groupon was one of the first large-scale ecommerce companies to be predominantly mobile, and now nearly 60 percent of our global transactions occur where we are a clear leader: on mobile devices, all around the world.

Old VS New

Our opportunity is to bring a better mobile product that more closely matches the current and future use cases in local — with a low friction buying and redemption experience supported by amazing customer service. We began this work in 2015, but we expect the payout will be seen in 2016 and beyond. Delighting customers isn’t a one-year proposition. It’s an every-year requirement and one we plan to fulfill.

The Road Ahead

Shortly after taking the CEO post, I acknowledged that the path for pioneers is rarely easy. It is difficult — but also hugely rewarding — to be first. That remains true for Groupon. There is much work left to do, but we have already made tremendous strides in just seven years toward becoming an indispensable asset for consumers seeking value and for small businesses seeking exposure. We believe no other company is poised to better connect these two groups, and the potential in doing so makes any challenges well worth it.

Fortunately, the Groupon team is purpose-built to meet these challenges. I am incredibly fortunate to work with a group of talented and dedicated people who truly care not just about building a great company but also about the consumers, businesses and communities we serve.

The first company to truly bring local commerce into the online world — to be the app for Main Street — will be a very special thing. Groupon continues to march closer to this goal. In 2015, we learned some hard lessons and made some hard decisions, but we also made real progress. It is still amazing to me to think that in just seven years we’ve sold more than a billion Groupons and are a part of everyday local life for tens of millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of merchants. In 2016, our goal is to accelerate our progress and add even more value to our customers’ lives, which is central to generating long-term shareholder value.

I continue to believe that focusing on our four strategic priorities — which ultimately are improving the fundamentals and delivering a great customer experience — are the key to faster progress. So far that focus has delivered a Groupon that is stronger, leaner and faster today than it has been in a very long time. We are steadily improving and our marketplace is developing faster than ever. We have the people, a strategy we believe in and more hard fought experience in local than just about anyone. We also have a mission with impact potential that far exceeds our customer, merchant and shareholder reach — a fitting reward for a pioneer in a space this vast.

We never expected that winning in local would be easy — there simply are no silver bullets in this space. But we do expect to continue to build on our momentum with ever-improving execution. It’s a challenge we gladly take on every day. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Groupon’s Record-Breaking Black Friday

With another Black Friday weekend in the books, it’s obvious that shopping has become nearly as identified with Thanksgiving as family and food. It’s become part of the holiday and the weekend — an event almost unto itself.

At Groupon, we love this weekend. (For that matter, we love Black Friday week — the competitive drive seems fixed on making everything start a little earlier every year.) Technically, it’s the same thing we do every other day of the year: connect customers with amazing value and great deals. It’s just on steroids during Black Friday weekend, and I’m excited to report another record-breaking year.

For the full Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend, Groupon’s North American billings were up 41% compared to last year, and customers purchased 52% more Groupons over the four-day weekend than in 2014. We’re grateful for the support of our customers and thankful for the opportunity to serve them.

Every year, more and more shoppers are starting with Groupon to save money on their shopping and to find something for everyone on their list. There’s a reason Groupon has been routinely listed as a top shopping destination for the weekend this year — because it’s true. We put together an amazing array of deals and ultimately customers agreed. That’s hugely gratifying for our team that’s been working nonstop to build our marketplace.

Like other e-commerce sites and retailers, physical products led the weekend. Given the size of our marketplace, and our team’s ability to uncover hidden gems, I’m always interested to see which deals customers discover at scale. Based on our sales data, a ton of people can expect to find NFL scarf and gloves sets, Apple EarPods and Apple Lightning charging cables, wireless bluetooth anti-loss key trackers, planetarium night light projectors, Wallet Ninjas, shower speakers, 1,200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets sets, Swarovski Elements necklaces and unbreakable flying helicopters in their holiday hauls this year. I mean, who doesn’t need a ninja in their wallet?

But Goods is only part of the story. Local can win on Black Friday weekend, too.

On the same weekend that the National Retail Federation announced that online shoppers eclipsed brick-and-mortar purchases for the first time ever, Groupon saw a tremendous appetite for local experiences. Over the weekend, more than one in every four Groupons sold was for a restaurant, salon, spa or other local merchant.

That’s the power of a marketplace. That’s the power of our marketplace.

When we talk about the opportunity in Local, and when we talk about Groupon’s role in driving success for small businesses, this is what we’re talking about. We’ve seen first hand that local businesses can compete in an increasingly connected world and against online giants. We’re focused on enabling that competition.

As more and more shopping occurs online, few are as well positioned as Groupon to help local merchants successfully bridge the gap and use the power of our platform to drive physical traffic, awareness and purchases. Groupon’s local commerce marketplace offers local businesses the ability to ride the wave of online shopping, rather than be crushed underneath it.

Black Friday weekend may be behind us, but our work is far from done. We still have millions more gifts to deliver, amazing deals and customers to serve. We also have many more opportunities to give thanks and to help those in need. So please join us in celebrating #GivingTuesday, as we partner with Operation Warm to help provide winter coats to families in need. To donate click here.

Congrats to the Groupon team and our merchants. It was a big win for everyone this weekend.

Groupon Volunteers Travel to Nicaragua with Spark Ventures

This fall, Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program teamed up with Spark Ventures to send six employees on an impact travel experience to Nicaragua. Employee volunteers were awarded the chance to travel with Spark as the winners of our annual Very Serious, Super-Competitive Employee Volunteer-a-thon.


Our week in Nicaragua was filled with good food, beautiful sunsets, and even better company of the children and staff at Las Tías. Las Tías is a secular, nonprofit organization operating in León, Nicaragua. Las Tías was started by 8 women merchants in 1989 to serve vulnerable children in their community through nutrition and educational programming. Through their 23 year history, Las Tías has served 850 adolescents and 1,060 children.

Each morning, we kicked off the day with a Spanish lesson and little history of the Nicaraguan culture that we would soon be immersed in. We spent the beginning of our adventure at the youth center of Las Tías where they serve up to 80 students, ages 6-13, at any given time. The Grouponers were draped in kids and had so much fun helping them  practice their colors and numbers in both Spanish and English. The girls loved braiding the female volunteers’ hair, and the boys kept the male volunteers busy (and sweaty) by climbing their shoulders to play “lando lando” (tag). After a couple fun-filled days with the students, we got to spend one of our last evenings with “the tías”, who run the organization, to share a homemade Nicaraguan feast and learn a little bit of the native dance to the beat of a Spanish-translated “I Will Survive.”

image1-5One employee, Kevin Tanko, said of the experience:

“My favorite part of the trip was working and playing with the children – practicing English with the kids and playing games with them was so powerful. It was quite eye opening to see the scale of the poverty in the country; and even though they don’t have much, the students were always happy to see us smiling, laughing and just being kids. We had the opportunity to visit a student’s home on Day 3; it was a surreal experience to see how the kids at Las Tías live day to day and the struggles that they face.  

It’s difficult to explain this kind of experience in words, but the takeaways of a trip like this are more of an emotion than anything. The level of poverty is nothing like I’ve ever seen before, and I’m so thankful for what I do have. It inspires me to do what I can to help improve people’s lives no matter where I go or where I’m at.”

After our time at Las Tías, we got down to business – Groupon travelers learned all about the incredible work that Spark Ventures is doing behind the scenes to develop sustainable business ventures, creating a stable source of revenue for the organization to support their work and expand their impact in the local community. Next summer Spark volunteers will be planting 85,000 cacao trees, plantains, and chilies to add to the existing 36 (soon to be 100) beehives already on the farm in northern Nicaragua. The revenue made from the investment in the farm will support the work of Las Tías to help vulnerable children reach their potential.

Aside from the volunteer component of the trip, we did get to have a little fun of our own! Grouponers spent the afternoons doing various activities such as: hiking up an active volcano, kayaking through the mangrove forests of Isla Juan Venado nature reserve, “volcano-boarding” down Cerro Negro, zip-lining on the crater of Mombacho, and a boat tour through the islands of Lake Nicaragua.

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Groupon is proud to help people and communities prosper by concocting a secret formula of employee do-goodery, responsible business practices, customer collaboration, and nonprofit investment where our employees live, work, and play.
Want to travel with Spark Ventures? Learn more about how to get involved with this great organization here!


Why We’ll Win in Local

After two weeks in the CEO chair, a couple of things are abundantly clear…

1) Groupon is a misunderstood company. We’re misunderstood by analysts. We’re misunderstood by media. We’re misunderstood by consumers — both those who haven’t visited our site in awhile and those who’ve never purchased from us. We haven’t done enough to tell our story over the past few years. And we haven’t always been humble about our hits and misses.

2) We are still paying the price for our past mistakes. Not just in the media and with Wall Street, but in the business, every day. We scaled too far, too fast and have had a rough ride. That’s not missed on us; these issues have too often diverted our attention from the kinds of things that a company at our stage should be figuring out.

As a result, and not surprisingly, a few myths have built up over the years. So let’s dispel a few, and then talk about what we’re doing differently moving forward.

MYTH: Groupon is an email daily deal company — This is the biggie. And it’s typically followed up with something along the lines of ‘deals are dead.’

Too many people still think of Groupon as “that daily deal email company.” The reality here is twofold: first, we’re a marketplace — and a big one — one with more than half a million deals in three different categories. Sure, email is still important, but more of our purchases come from on-site search than email, and more than half our purchases occur on mobile. There’s simply nowhere better on the Internet to find awesome local merchants, great products and amazing travel offers and experiences all in one place.

Second, the ‘deals are dead’ line of thinking is tired and not supported. Deals are core to who we are as a company, and we’re not running away from them–not by a long shot. Deals have helped us build the largest transactional platform of its kind in dozens of countries around the globe and a loved brand. We also know that there’s more to our marketplace than deals, including an increasing number of market rate and low discount offers, and new ways to save time as well as money. They’re just in their early stages and we want to move faster to bring them to customers so that they can see clearly the changes for themselves. We’re going to do that, and fast.

MYTH: No one can win in Local — There are a number of big companies — Amazon, Facebook, Google — who’ve tried and died in local. Local is a hard business. As the unquestioned leader at this point, we know that better than anyone. On more than one occasion, we’ve been overly enthusiastic about the potential impact of new products, and we’ve been wrong more than once with how critical it is for us to compete in certain areas. We shouldn’t run from those failures or apologize for them. None of them bet the future of the company. We are pioneering, we are growing, and we are the market leader, which means we know that not every test will come out beaming rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will win, and win big. Winning big is absolutely possible in local. It’s a massive space that remains largely underserved. Consumers and merchants ultimately want that to change, and that makes winning in local possible. We have sold nearly a billion Groupons life to date. Add to that our nearly 50 million active consumer and 1 million merchant customers to date and you have a lot of proof of the possibilities in local.

MYTH: Groupon isn’t growing/Groupon is going out of business — On one hand, this is just lazy. On the other, that this is misunderstood is largely on us. We’ve definitely grown: since going public, we’ve grown billings and revenue by over 90%; we’ve had seven consecutive quarters of double-digit billings growth in North America; we’ve doubled our customers over the past five years; we’ve increased the number of deals on our platform by 500x since we went public in 2011; etc.; etc. What we haven’t done is consistently meet the expectations we set. We’re not growing the way we believe we can grow given the size of the opportunity in local and the potential in our platform. Both of those are going to change. More on that in a bit.

MYTH: Groupon is bad for businesses — We don’t hear this much anymore, but it still comes up on occasion. Our #1 complaint from merchants these days? They want to sell more Groupons.

The vast majority of our deals (82% as of the last report) are breakeven or better on the deal itself (i.e., no overspend or cross-sell required). That is simply unheard of in high volume small business advertising and customer acquisition. But let’s be clear: we still have to improve here. Not every brand or business is comfortable with deep discounts. We want to give more merchants more opportunities to run on our platform at lower discounts and with market rate offerings. You can see some of those opportunities today with Groupon To Go–more are coming.

So that’s that. Let’s talk about why I think we have what it takes to win.

First is our team. It’s amazing and one of our biggest assets. I can’t think of another team with more experience in local and that’s thrived with so many people betting against it. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of this team.

Then it’s our customers. We’re approaching 50 million customers worldwide and have worked with more than a million merchants to date. We have a loved brand with over 80% awareness in North America, and net promoter and customer satisfaction scores in line with the world’s best brands.

Next is a strong underlying model with a simple value prop that works for both consumers and merchants. Our business has weathered everything from email headwinds to a full marketplace transition–all while maintaining healthy fundamentals and selling nearly a billion Groupons (and counting). Why? Because consumers love to save money and merchants love to acquire new customers.

Last, we have unprecedented experience in local, and what we believe is the right vision and strategy to make our goal of becoming the daily habit in local a reality.

This is a powerful combination of advantages that’s very, very hard to replicate. So what are we going to do with them?

Given these advantages and the opportunity in local, we believe we can and should grow much faster. To enable that growth at a larger scale, we are focusing on three major strategic changes.

First, we are dramatically shifting our marketing strategy in order to drive millions more new customers to our marketplace. Core focus and investment in new customers isn’t a nice-to-have for a business at our stage, it’s a requirement.

Second, we are further simplifying and streamlining our business, in particular our international segments. This means moving to more shared services for economies of scale, and it means better picking our battles–exiting or partnering in countries where we don’t believe we can win or where winning will require more time, technology and investment than we should manage. And, in some markets where we’re seeing results — Australia, France, Germany, Italy and UK, to name a few — it means increasing our investment to better capitalize on the opportunity.

Third, we are moving away from empty calories in Shopping. We will no longer emphasize the higher revenue but lower margin consumer electronics business that we believe isn’t required in order to grow a sustainable, healthy Shopping business with stronger margins.

These are admittedly major shifts in our strategy for a new CEO who has been in the job for what amounts to a handful of days. I’ve been here for over 4 years however, and as I said before, I don’t need the proverbial 100 days to know that these are the right decisions. We simply can’t expect to win if we’re not willing to double down on what’s working and walk away from what’s not. And why wait to do the right thing?

With all these changes, there are some very important things that are staying 100% the same: our mission to connect local commerce; and our vision to build the daily habit for local commerce, the marketplace where people discover and save on amazing things to eat, see, do and buy in their neighborhood.

The same core market realities that brought me here over 4 years ago still exist today: local businesses have an incredibly hard time standing out and getting people to give them a shot; consumers want to save money and discover new things to eat, see, do and buy in their neighborhood. What’s changed in the last 4 years is that Groupon now better addresses these two market realities than anyone. And we’re still just getting started.

A lot of people have told me that I’m taking over the reins of this company in a very dark time. Plenty have said that I’m nuts to take this on. Without question, no one is handing us the keys to local with a big red bow tied around them. And while I’m shaking things up, I assure you that I’m not crazy. So I don’t look at this as a dark time. I look at this as a time to make things happen, faster. It’s the time to realize our potential and make Groupon better for merchants, for consumers, for employees and for shareholders.

On that note, I believe strongly that a better Groupon matters. It matters because local matters; neighborhoods matter. Part of what makes neighborhoods special are the businesses that line their streets and create hubs, energy and connections for communities. Groupon gives those businesses tools to grow and thrive. When local businesses thrive, neighborhoods win. I don’t know about you, but I think that matters, a lot.

I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to lead Groupon, and I’m looking forward to our next great chapter together.*

*This post contains forward looking statements. Groupon’s third quarter 2015 earnings materials, including a message on the use of forward looking statements, are available at under the heading “Investor Relations.”

One Playbook: The next chapter at Groupon

Two years ago, we started the ambitious process of unifying our global technology platforms, tools and processes. This One Playbook initiative was designed to help us replace years of technical debt and disparate operations with the products, tools and processes that drive our North American business. Our goal was to set the stage for Groupon’s next chapter–as a global company, with more leverage and efficiency in our core operations, and a stronger platform for growth.

It’s been a huge undertaking, and we still have work to do, but our Operations teams, Engineering teams and many, many others have made amazing progress. Simply put, we are a stronger, faster Groupon today because of this work.

We’re also now in a position to realize the efficiencies we’ve been working so hard to gain, to further improve the way we operate around the world and — most importantly — continue to channel more and more of our resources toward long-term growth. Practically, this means we’re taking some broad restructuring actions to better focus our resources and streamline our international operations.

Over the next several months we will eliminate approximately 1,100 positions, primarily in international Deal Factory and Customer Service. Our teams have done great work to streamline our operations in these and other areas, and our global capabilities and strong regional service centers allow us to do more with less while still providing the high level of service our customers expect and trust.

Alongside this process, we’ve also taken a close, honest look at where we do business. We saw that the investment required to bring our technology, tools and marketplace to every one of our 40+ countries isn’t commensurate with the return at this point. We believe that in order for our geographic footprint to be an even bigger advantage, we need to focus our energy and dollars on fewer countries. So, we decided to exit a number of countries where the required investment and market potential don’t align. You likely saw that we recently exited Greece and Turkey. We are also ceasing operations in Morocco, Panama, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay.

Let’s be clear: these are tough actions to take, especially when we believe we’re stronger than ever. We’re doing all we can to make these transitions as easy as possible, but it’s not easy to lose some great members of the Groupon family. Yet just as our business has evolved from a largely hand-managed daily deal site to a true ecommerce technology platform, our operational model has to evolve. Evolution is hard, but it’s a necessary part of our journey. It’s also part of our DNA as a company and is one of the things that will help us realize our vision of creating the daily habit in local commerce.

Last, while this is a lot of change, here’s what’s not changing: Our mission to connect local commerce; our commitment to delivering great deals to our customers and real value to our merchants and our belief that Groupon is a unique and amazing place to work.

Thank you for your commitment and your partnership on this journey. We expect the next stage for Groupon will be our best.