The poor traditional holiday food (osechi) delivery happened on New Year’s day around Groupon Japan, followed by media bash then Groupon world CEO’s sincere but delayed video apology 17 days later, must affected somewhat on their Japanese penetration and pitching daily deal business itself.
Even though a month passed, media rushing on this issue has not ceased. On Friday 3rd, Japanese economic newspaper Nikkei’s online released 6 pages, intensively researched long article that explains from what this coupon service is, to osechi and several other problems happening [J]. I have never seen other news which dug down such deep on this topic.
Nikkei pointed out that too-pushy sales caused the troubles, and it is needed to check if only coupon services get fruit against shops and consumers. They also covered a shop owner who ought to sell and cancel thousands of coupons by following Groupon sales’ insufficient explanation, needed to sign on an agreement that he would never tell about it, if he wants to cancel.
Then, Saturday night, national public TV NHK broadcasted 24 minutes documentary, “Kyukakudai! Gekiyasu Ku-pon Saito”(Booming! Heavily-discounted coupon sites) in their weekly program Tsuiseki(Chasing) A to Z.
The program began with explaining what coupon service is as well. NHK interviews some of service providers and let them talk how much it reduces marketing cost with getting social buzz, however, the tone of the program were negative overall, at least web users felt so (from Tweets and 2-channel board
NHK aired the closed Bird Cafe, the osechi vendor. Then they introduced shop-side anecdotes. A hamburger shop in Nagoya, who claims to be forced by sales persons to issue 2,622 tickets, with the price below the cost and they can only serve 30 set per day. The shop served 700 in 2 month but resulted in cancelling the rest. Another Izakaya (Japanese food bar) shopkeeper told that a sales person posted photos of dish which were not theirs (taken from somewhere).
Nikkei and NHK are the ones of the most trusted news sources in Japan, especially by mid-to-old generations. Those people might know the coupon business and its bad reputations at the same time by these.
On the web, someone made a half sized figure of the Bird Cafe’s poor osechi set,
and the osechi T-shirt is sold, too.
Groupon Japan’s Osechigate Still Smoldering
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