Groupon acquires mobile technology companies, tests loyalty program

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Groupon has acquired Hyperpublic and Kima Labs, a company spokesperson told Direct Marketing News on Feb. 21. Hyperpublic builds technology that allows information to be incorporated into location information and Kima Labs is the creator of the barcode-reading app Barcode Hero and the mobile payment app TapBuy.

"Kima Labs has developed popular apps that make mobile transactions easier, more fun and more of a possibility for merchants,” a Groupon spokesperson said. “We're excited by the team's ability to create technology that consumers love, and we believe they'll be strong assets in our pursuit to change the way people shop."

The Chicago-based company is also revamping its website design and adding features, including “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” buttons, Groupon's CEO Andrew Mason recently told Bloomberg Businessweek. The changes are aimed at tailoring Groupon's offers to individual preferences and ensuring its 33 million users receive offers that are as relevant as possible. Groupon's redesigned homepage will also showcase special events and holidays, along with any associated deals.

According to numerous reports, the company is also testing out a subscription-based loyalty program called Groupon VIP in several markets. It will offer early access to deals, as well as refunds on expired deals, and the ability to purchase offers that have sold out to regular subscribers. This would be the company's first paid product, costing $29.99 per month after a free three-month trial.

Groupon declined to comment on the Web revamp and the loyalty program.

These changes come following Groupon's announcement of a 419% jump in revenue on Feb. 8, during its first earnings call as a public company.

The pair of acquisitions reflect a boost in mobile activity from the social discount site. On Feb. 6, the company acquired Adku, which helps retailers enhance their e-commerce sites using personal data.

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