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grocery aisleGroup-buying titan Groupon’s plans for world domination seem to be rolling along smoothly. Last week, the company filed for its initial public offering. Today, it’s announcing its first partnership with a grocery chain, and its first full integration with a loyalty card system.

Specifically, grocery chain Big Y will be offering a deal to Springfield, Mass. subscribers, giving them 40 percent off its new Shellfish Grill Pack, which normally costs $39.99. And instead of having to print out their Groupon certificate to redeem the deal, shoppers just enter their Big Y Express Saving Club number on the Groupon site, and the deal is automatically loaded onto their card.

Now, none of this sounds hugely innovative, nor will it silence Groupon’s critics. Last week, some of those critics pointed out (justifiably) that even though Groupon’s revenue is growing rapidly, its costs are skyrocketing too, suggesting that its business model may not be sustainable.

So here’s where the Shellfish Grill Pack fits in. Groupon has said (for example, in its IPO filing) that its vision isn’t limited to daily deals, but rather involves a broader aim to “reshape local commerce”. The more Groupon can insinuate itself into every part of local business, the better-positioned it will be to achieve that vision. Integrating with existing loyalty programs helps, and so does making it into grocery store aisles.

[image via Flickr/Doug Wilson]


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