Assignment: Using iPhone/Android Apps

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Assignment: Using iPhone/Android Apps

Assignment: Using iPhone/Android Apps

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Around the time of the IPO, analysts and observers alike claimed that Groupon ’ s business model was not sustainable. In addition to the large number of retailers who found their deals unprofi table, observers noted that Groupon does not produce anything of value, and it isn ’ t adding value to the retailers. Further, there are no barriers to entry to stop competitors. In May 2011, more than 450 competitors offering discounts and deals included LivingSocial , another daily deal site;, a site for restaurant gift certifi cates at a deep discount; and and , sites offering discounted merchan- dise, not to mention deep‐pocketed competitors like .

■ CASE STUDY 2‐1 Groupon

c02.indd 52 11/26/2015 6:20:50 PM

53Case Study

Zipcar is an answer for customers who want to rent a car for a few hours in their home city rather than for a few days from a traditional rental agency. Car reservations are for a specifi c pick‐up time and location around the city, often in neighbor- hoods so the customers need only to walk to pick up their reserved car. Customers apply for a Zipcard, which enables them to reserve a car online and unlock their car when they arrive at its location.

The company operates with a very small staff compared to traditional rental agencies. Very little human interaction is required between the customer and Zipcar for a transaction. A customer reserves a car online, enters into the reserved car by waving the RFID‐enabled Zipcard against the card reader mounted behind the driver ’ s side windshield, returns the car to the same location, and is billed on the credit card already on fi le. The customer can check all rental records and print receipts from the online reservation system. The system also has a color‐coded time chart showing the availability and location of all rental cars in the vicinity. This transparent information exchange allows a customer to pick the car he or she wants, if avail- able, or delay the reservation until that car is returned by another customer. Zipcar also created and installed a GPS‐enabled wireless device in each car, which allows members to fi nd and reserve a vehicle nearby using a cell phone. Customers also can use an iPhone or Android app on their iPhone or Android mobile device to fi nd and reserve a Zipcar on a 24/7 basis. Zipcar sends text alerts near the end of the rental period, and customers can text back if they want to extend their rental time.

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