The Groupon Experience

Not too long before I changed jobs and moved house I was approached by bargain voucher website Groupon, who wondered if I’d be up for trying out one of their offers and writing about it.

I originally discovered Groupon from one of those site popups – which is usually enough to put me off investigating further. However, the popularity of the website is now growing and the number of people I know that use the service has greatly increased – my new manager at Sky is one of their biggest fans!

Alongside national deals, the site runs vouchers for local businesses all over Britain. You can browse the site for new daily deals based on your chosen location (such as West London) and also subscribe to daily updates so you can find out about deals as soon as they’re launched. Offers vary from cosmetic procedures (dental implants, laser lipo and high-end hair removal solutions) to dining deals and domestic bargains (beanbags, for example). All deals are heavily discounted, with some offering up to a whopping 90% off!

Unlike other voucher sites, you pay for the deal on the Groupon site and either register your code online at the relevant website (if it’s a product rather than service or experience), or print out the voucher and take it with you to whatever you’ve bought. You’ll also need to book if it’s restaurant/salon related.

Groupon also run incentives to get more users active on the site – by successfully recommending friends to the site, users can currently earn £6 credit for redeeming on vouchers on the site – so if you recommend ten friends, that’s £60 for you to spend.

Having finally settled into my new place in Willesden Green, I decided to finally take Groupon up on their offer and see how far the £20 credit would go. Having my friend Charlie‘s housewarming to attend I took a gamble on a £19 KMS conditioning treatment, cut and blow-dry at Gregory’s Hair and Beauty salon in Northfields. Payment with my code was swift and easy and I was instructed that my voucher would be available the next day (once the deal had closed). An email arrived in my inbox the next morning completed with the aforementioned voucher so I sent a message to the Gregory’s, who rang me back a mere hour or so later to book me in. Amazingly, I was able to get an appointment for the next day. Not-so-amazingly I forgot that the Picadilly Line would be closed and I’d need to get a bus replacement service to Northfields…

Pesky travel issues aside, everything else about the experience was entirely plain sailing. My stylist Paula washed my hair, put the conditioning treatment on and sat me under one of those retro heaters for several minutes with a cup of tea and a magazine – bliss!

The results of my blow dry

After a quick trim, Paula asked how I’d like my hair dried. I decided to go against poker straight, but also tend to get disastrous results when hairdressers attempt to dry my hair into its natural curly style (they usually use too little product and go big on the frizz), so I asked for something slightly wavy.

My hair is quite coarse when straightened so it never looks perfectly glossy (Cheryl Cole-like one might say), but overall I was genuinely happy with the results. I did have to overload on products once I got home to try and keep the frizz at bay, which wasn’t entirely successful, but the cut itself was fantastic and has gone smoothly back to curls once washed.

Back to my curly 'roots'

At the salon, Paula how the salon became involved with Groupon. It seems that there’s quite a lot of interest in being featured on the site and the company asks many questions of the businesses apply. This could be to maintain quality control, to make sure that the deals sell and are worth hosting or a combination of the two (and more reasons besides). Ultimately, Groupon has been brilliant for Gregory’s. They’ve been featured multiple times with different treatments and have gained plenty of satisfied new customers. They also offer all Groupon customers the same treatment, at the same cost, for life.

Needless to say, I’ll be going back to both the salon and to Groupon!

Have you tried Groupon? What are your experiences of the site? Let me know below or send me a Tweet.