Groupon

Leading local marketplace that connects millions of customers with merchants in communities around the world—utilizing the power of data.

Whether it’s snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii, trying a new restaurant in your neighborhood, or getting a relaxing massage at your favorite spa, Groupon is the destination for experiences—where customers discover fun things to do and local businesses thrive.

Since its inception in 2008, Groupon has worked with over 1 million merchants, sold over 1.5 billion Groupons globally and pumped more than $25 billion into local businesses.

For consumers looking for an amazing selection of local experiences at great values, then Groupon is their one-stop shop. For small businesses, Groupon helps them reach millions of customers around the world.

“One of the things about our mission that is really rewarding is the positive impact that we have on the small businesses in all the countries that we work in. As a consumer, Groupon helps you connect and gives you access to all the different merchants who offer experiences in the city you live in or the city you're visiting,” said Groupon Chief Technology Officer, John Higginson.

Accelerating change during a global pandemic

Established amid the 2008 financial crisis, Groupon has aimed to help level the playing field for small businesses, particularly in times of economic uncertainty, by helping them leverage the company’s size and scale—along with technology—to connect with local customers. Twelve years later, Groupon’s merchants face their next biggest challenge—the global pandemic.

“Particularly coming out of COVID, a time when small businesses were really hit very hard, Groupon gives our merchants a platform to connect with new and existing customers and to help them promote themselves. We give them data-driven advice on how to structure their deals and how to sell the services they offer,” Higginson said.

Across the globe, shelter-in-place orders and other COVID restrictions put in place during the pandemic, which meant consumers were forced to find new ways to buy things, but also figure out how to continue experiencing everyday activities in their local communities.

Higginson recalls, “during COVID, it was making sure that we could surface to consumers the kinds of things they were doing during the lockdown. Yoga studios, for example, were going to more virtual classes, so we began connecting customers to yoga studios who were doing those virtual classes. And now, for consumers who are ready to get out and explore again, we are able to surface fun things for them to do in-person in their local communities.”

Data fuels growth in a powerful marketplace flywheel.

“We are a data-driven company. Everything from what markets to have our sales team find merchants, to recommendations that we make to merchants on how to structure their Deals is driven by data. All the different sources that we have from our own technology, our own systems, our websites—it’s all aggregated in Teradata. That helps form the heart of what we do to run our business,” explained Higginson.

It’s not enough to merely offer deals on a website. Consumers expect personalized recommendations. Groupon’s two-sided marketplace has massive global scale, selling everything from facials to axe throwing classes, which means that every consumer can have a personalized experience.

“With Teradata, we can query our inventory in real-time, and trust that it is going to be running and working. We don't have to worry about uptime. We don't have to worry about interruptions. It's just there. And so we can build services on top of it that drive that kind of personalization,” Higginson shared.

The Cloud scales to major shopping events and supports global growth.

Like many organizations, Groupon had on-premises data centers. When a global company like Groupon expanded geographically or rapidly scaled up based on major shopping events, such as Cyber Monday, expanding on-premises environments meant making changes to the operating environment like increasing storage or adding computing processing power. For Groupon to enter new countries, this also comes with data sovereignty, so during Groupon’s early beginnings, this meant creating new data centers in various countries around the globe.

“Twelve, thirteen years ago the Cloud didn't really exist. So, we had to build our own data centers and a lot of the infrastructure to allow a business like ours to scale to hundreds of millions of transactions and work in all these different countries. The Cloud has become a very mature and robust way to do this,” Higginson proclaimed.

Groupon saw the Cloud as a way to scale to match the demands of the business, allowing the company to better leverage its infrastructure dollars, support more technology projects and capture opportunity.

However, cloud migrations are never as easy as simply moving from one to another.

“All companies who have been running on a certain technology implementation have built a whole host of things around that technology. It's not just about moving the data. In fact, the smallest part of the migration is moving the data. It is about all the other things that connect to it.”

“It is about custom code that leverages that data. It is about queries. All the different logic and services that are tied to the technology need to work once you make the move. You don't want to have your internal business customers say, ‘hey, I can't run my reports or give this data to the auditors’,” cautioned Higginson.

John Higginson, Groupon Chief Technology Officer

Teradata Vantage on AWS reduces risk in the journey to the Cloud.

Under his leadership, Higginson and team began moving Groupon’s on-premises data warehouse to Teradata Vantage on AWS, the connected multi-cloud data platform for enterprise analytics.

“Teradata Vantage on AWS gives us the flexibility for future growth. Teradata made it easier for us to step up our on-premises into the Cloud with Vantage,” shared Higginson.

When asked why Teradata? And why AWS? Higginson responded, “Teradata has technology to make that happen. We're moving our infrastructure to AWS, they run on AWS. The different things we want to do with the data, the different kinds of data sources we want to pull into the data warehouse, Teradata enables.”

Now in the Cloud, Groupon sees the performance and flexibility they expect from a cloud data platform.

“It is reliable and it is scalable. So as our business evolves, as we go through periods where everything just has to work and has to work really well, Teradata Vantage is reliable for us.”

Cloud costs can be foggy. Teradata’s Blended Pricing offers full transparency.

Technology and market conditions can change quickly, potentially leading to highly unpredictable costs. According to McKnight Consulting Group, “some organizations have seen upwards of 3-5x higher costs than originally projected.”

Blended Pricing for Vantage is an enterprise-class pricing model that couples low-cost, predictable reserved compute capacity with on-demand elasticity in which you pay only for additional compute resources used or activated, plus storage. Unlike legacy alternatives that force you to pay full-time for any peaks in usage, Teradata Blended Pricing offers a tailored approach that allows you to get what you require in an efficient manner while benefiting from the lowest cost at scale.

Like many customers, Groupon chose Teradata’s Blended Pricing model.

According to Higginson, “the blended cost gave us predictability. We know we have a good idea of what it looks like as we grow and evolve. We have predictability and that's important because, like everybody else, I have a budget that I need to adhere to. Knowing what the costs will be with Teradata allows me to plan for investments in other areas.”

John Higginson, Groupon Chief Technology Officer


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