Groupon buys retail analytics startup Swarm

by Lauryn Schroeder
November 18, 2014

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Groupon announced Monday its acquisition of Swarm, an in-store analytics and marketing startup based in San Francisco that helps small businesses grow through analytics and customer interaction.

By using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and infrared, Swarm devices allow retailers to connect with and track their customers by analyzing in-store activity. Dan Roarty, Groupon's vice president of product development, said Swarm’s team will help enhance Groupon’s local commerce platform and merchant operating system.

“The more merchants understand about consumer shopping habits, the more customers benefit through specialized offers, tailored notifications and the opportunity to provide real-time feedback,” Roarty said in Monday’s press release. “We’re excited to have Swarm join us in our mission to connect local commerce.”

Founded in 2012 by Rudd Davis and Ryan Denehy, Swarm has created devices that are easy to use, and can help local businesses track trends in sales, set goals and measure progress. The Swarm Portal, for example, is more than 95 percent accurate when tracking foot traffic in and out of stores. The Ping device identifies shoppers as they walk through the door, cash out at the register, or even as they browse different product displays. Retailers can then learn their customers’ preferences and retarget them with notifications, reminders, deals, and personal messages while they shop.

For Groupon, acquiring Swarm is just one of many deals this year that work to expand the company’s services to small retailers, moving it from a daily deals platform to a go-to outlet for businesses.

In October, Groupon launched a new format and online presence called Pages, which acts as an online directory for businesses. Pages aggregates news, user reviews and other information on a home page, allowing Groupon to compete against Yelp, Foursquare, Google and Facebook. In May, Groupon also incorporated the iPad-based point-of-sale solution, Gnome. The platform included a “cash register” that accepted traditional payments as well as Groupon vouchers and integrated customer relationship management software, accounting software and more.

According the press release, Swarm’s team will join Groupon’s MOS team in San Francisco, developing Swarm’s product portfolio and partner roster, including integrations with a number of leading point-of-sale providers. 

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