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Good deal: Groupon opens first physical store

The daily-deals site sets up shop in Singapore's Suntec City mall, where customers can buy and redeem physical products and exchange defective goods. Similar shops may follow in other locales.

Groupon shop
The Groupon shop in Singapore.
Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia

E-commerce just dropped the letter "e," with Groupon setting up its first retail store in the heart of Singapore.

The store is an avenue for shoppers to redeem their purchased goods instantly, Groupon Singapore CEO Karl Chong told CNET Asia during the official launch. It's also a way for the company to get to know its customers.

The shop has three computer terminals, as well as a handful of Apple iPads, where customers can browse, buy, and print deals on the spot. However, only physical goods can be redeemed at the store in the Suntec City Mall.

iPads in green skins
The Groupon store's iPads are decked out in a green skin, the company's signature color. Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia

Customers can try out the goods on display before purchasing, as well as ask Groupon ambassadors about products. We like this idea, as it makes customers feel more secure about making a purchase.

According to Chong, Groupon Singapore previously had a smaller redemption center that saw long lines. To reduce the wait times, the company decided to expand into a concept store.

The shop also has a separate counter for customers to exchange or repair defective merchandise.

If the physical store is successful in Singapore, similar shops may be set up in other markets as well. However, this does not spell the end of online shopping for Groupon.

"Groupon will remain an online platform, both on your desktops and your smartphones," Chong said. "The strategy behind setting up the Groupon shop speaks to the huge priority we place on delivering convenience to our customers."

customer service team
Groupon Singapore's customer service team is also located at the store, although it's hidden from view. Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia

(Source: Crave Asia)