Seeking More Daily Deal Traction, Groupon Updates Its iPad App With ‘Nearby’ Feature And Support For 6 More Countries

Groupon — the daily deals site with ambitions to become the go-to platform for all local commerce — is continuing to expand its mobile offerings to meet that goal. The company today is launching a new version of its iPad app. Bringing it up to par with its existing iPhone app, updated this summer, the app now lets users add in gift codes, and has better social integration with Facebook. But perhaps the key new feature is a “nearby” service, letting people search for and hopefully redeem deals close to them. All three are part of a bigger strategy for Groupon to add more functionality into its overall service that will likely see integration of mobile commerce and other features into the app down the line.

The app also now works in six new countries: Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore and Sweden. In addition to existing support for the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy and the UK, Groupon now covers 13 countries with its iPad app, still a far cry from the 42 countries it supports on iPhone.

Both moves are a sign of how Groupon is continuing to try to improve traction on its core business of daily deals, which have had a big drop in usage since the company went public. In the company’s last quarterly results, it reported results below expectations with earnings per share of $0.00. Other strategies at the company have included working on offering more services, such as point-of-sale commercial offerings, restaurant reservations, and a B2B service powering daily deals for other brands like Major League Baseball.

In an interview earlier, David Katz, Groupon’s VP of mobile, said that although it might seem more obvious to offer location-based services on a smartphone rather than a tablet app, he also noted that people were using the iPad app already in different locations.

“The Nearby service is more than just being out and about,” he said. “It’s about taking advantage of deals wherever you are, and so if you’re using the app close to home or at work it makes just as much sense as the service on the phone.”

Although Katz wouldn’t say how many downloads Groupon has had of its iPad (or Android or iPhone apps) he did note that iPads specifically were one of the more popular ways of accessing Groupon on the go. “Coming out of 2012 and into 2013, you will see a lot of emphasis from Groupon to tablets,” he said. “That’s a big growth area because a lot of our users have iPads.”

That’s not yet extending, however, to Groupon doing anything with Windows 8. Although the company has a Windows Phone app, it’s “not on the same scale as iPhone or Android for us,” he said. “We’re excited about Windows 8, but we prioritize based on where our users are.”

He declined to say what might come next for the apps, but one obvious integration is adding services like Savored for restaurant recommendations, and perhaps services to redeem purchases. Katz seems to imply that these will function in a single app rather than as separate services. “We have big plans for what we can do in the app,” he said. “You should expect over the long term that [all our services] will work together.”

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