Living Social scores a big basket with a 3 hour lunch time blitz in the game of local. They did a fairly large test in Washington DC by offering extreme lunch deals on one day for 3 hours. Users could find a list of places within a half mile offering the deal and then buy on the phone. I will say that it is easy to give away money and get people to do something but the sheer volume of traffic is noteworthy. If you live in a major metropolitan area Groupon and Living Social will affect local business commerce as they can turn on a fire hose of transactions. Maybe they are good customers and maybe they are bad but the math is impressive.
27,000 interactions at 120 merchants over 3 hours is over one customer per minute at each merchant. I assume that there were more than 120 locations being served but it is still impressive volume.
I am curious to see what happens next because Living Social and Groupon are both offering a payment ecosystem and have critical mass at this point. Make no mistake this is a the first in a many phased experiment at gain ground at the point of sale. The closer you are to the wallet the more profit is available.
I am sure that there were issues with lines at the most popular places and probably bad tips for an over worked staff but those can be adjusted in the future. Make no mistake inventory is becoming real time and the world is working on mobile.
Current score: Instant Deals – 1, Groupon Now – 0, OpenTable – (out to lunch)