Discount Buying Hits Pakistan Thanks to GROUPIN

groupinIt was three years ago that the American retail market experienced a change designed to drive more attention to the small businesses: the entrance of Groupon, a web-based company collaborating with the retailers to offer consumers discounts on various products. The timing suited all players in light of the financial crunch and rising unemployment.

For all those who follow the business world, the recent announcement by Groupon to go public with a $750 million IPO comes on the back of what many analysts see as the new technology bubble. While many have placed the $20 billion valuation of the company as an extreme exaggeration, especially in context to the loss making performance till date, the rise and popularity of the company and its services is of no debate.

With internet users growing exponentially in Pakistan, the number of start-ups has begun to mushroom slowly. While software and application development houses have been here since the late 90s, their core focus has been the developed markets of the West.

However, with a better connected middle class residing in the large urban centers of the country, a push is coming to use the web and other technologies as a gap-bridging medium in the retail world.

The statistics available officially announce the existence of over 3 million businesses in the country, with 98% regarded as SME. This reflects the numbers of many other Asian nations, where small establishments and family businesses tend to survive due to stronger ties and national culture.

In tough times, it is these enterprises that suffer greatly due to low revenue. While coupons have long been used by shop owners to get repeat business, the social networking boom is allowing for the model to be adopted as an ice-breaker.

Arif Mirza, CEO, Groupin.PK, delivering keynotes on Entrepreneurship at WebX 2.0, Bahria Univ, IslamabadGroupin ( has entered the Pakistani market by re-capturing the mechanism of its larger American counterpart. Initiating in Islamabad with a special on sugar, the company has appeared to gain acceptance within the business and consumer groups as more deals are announced.

Lahore made its debut recently with a special on petrol, and other cities are likely to follow. Incorporating variants for payment in an otherwise cash-oriented society, the company is trying to establish a hold with its service.

Such initiatives have to be admired especially in the context of the challenges that must be overcome. While entrepreneurship exists in many forms in this nation, very little encouraging force is available for those seeking resources to launch themselves.

In most cases, the owners or founders come from sound financial backgrounds allowing experimentation with otherwise wild ideas. Incubation facilities and science parks, which allow for guidance in the formative years of a new business, are absent, low in numbers or still in the learning process themselves.

This gives greater reason to encourage Groupin and other similar ventures, who dream to offer something different to the norm. In the socio-economic and political environment that we currently inhabit, stronger business-to-business ties and consumer-centric offerings allow for a winning scenario for all.

  • MoMoo

    I have availed the zafra restaurant deal and it was marvolous.

    i love the way the have introduced the thing, good for new businesses which are at initial stage as well as those who has reached to their maturity to take help from managment.

    thumbs up for the team.

  • Imran

    Idea is neat but one can not log on the site without giving his email and mobile. I really hope they dont spam me with shitty deals.

    • admin

      Yes, that’s an issue – you can’t access the website without logging in; which i believe isn’t logical.

    • cJs

      Yes! they’ll spam u alot, atleast on every new deal, i am getting their e.mails after every 2 days. spam box was high few days back i cleaned it up. and now again started spaming. Be professional guys.

  • Nomi

    Well their current deal in lahore is 70 Rupees per LTR which looks very unrealistic to me very frankly well see i have subscribed to this deal lets see how this gona work

  • Saad

    Its a good start, but they should expand rapidly

  • Rameez Kakakhel

    Expand to other cities please… The Islamabad deals are pretty nice.

  • Jawad M

    Bought the Zefra and Shifang restaurant deal from groupin. Must say, i was very impressed.

    The amount of money you pay and the service u get is awesome. I hope they can get some hardware deals. maybe an iphone or something. now that would be really awesome!

  • Hassan Bokhari

    I availed their petrol deal in Lahore which started on Monday, and its just a really easy process. You only have to give your mobile number and email so they can contact you on your email for new deals and on your mobile when you subscribe to purchase the deal.

    It might be confusing in the start, but you can ask me any questions about it on [email protected], because i am open to help, and no, i dont work for groupin.