Groupon Gets Down To Commerce, Releases Newly Acquired Point-Of-Sale App Breadcrumb [Updated]

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Four months after buying restaurant-focused, point-of-sale app Breadcrumb, Groupon is putting the acquisition to work in its bid to grow its local commerce business. Today it is launching the iPad app nationwide across the U.S., following a limited pilot in New York — and is throwing in offering to sell users an iPad for those interested in trying it out. The news of Groupon launching more commercial services could not come at a better time as the company’s volatile stock continues to slump.

Users who are interested in using Breadcrumb get a “Breadbox”, which Groupon says will contain everything they need to get the service up and running. “A typical Breadbox order contains an iPad, iPad stand, cash drawer, credit card swipe, printer, router, wireless access point and cables,” the company says. The transaction service integrates with Groupon’s credit card payment platform (and Square and other POS competitor) Groupon Payments. The iPad app is in Apple’s App Store. Update: Groupon tells me that in fact the iPads are not free. Merchants can either use their own, or Groupon is happy to sell them one.

Breadcrumb points to how Groupon — and the iPad — is furthering its touchpoints with local business customers. Growing its local commerce business is something CEO Andrew Mason has highlighted as a priority for Groupon as its business matures, and here it is doing so by offering them more services on top of the products it sells them. Prices for Breadcrumb start at $99 per month, which Groupon says includes installation as well as phone and email support for the retailers using the app.

As a POS app that effectively replaces the cash register, Breadcrumb is all about consolidating features that in the past may have been done by waiters either manually or across a number of devices (cash registers, calculators, computers, etc.). They include the ability to merge and split checks, adjust menu items and specify guest notes. But it also has some employee management features such as managing time clocks, setting individual access permissions on the platform, and real-time sales reports.

Groupon claims that Breadcrumb is offering features that might otherwise cost thousands of dollars to operate, often under long-term contracts. And indeed, it points to the direction that we will probably be seeing many other point-of-sale services going, integrating different aspects of the transaction into a single platform, and a unified interface/dashboard. The question is whether companies that are already running existing services will be interested in jumping over to a new system.