Groupon Rewards goes national

The leading daily deal site is trying to become more than just a one-trick pony.

After running through a pilot program in various test cities throughout the country, Groupon has decided to make its Groupon Rewards program available on a national level.

The new platform allows merchants to offer an easily managed customer loyalty program and getting face time on Groupon without giving away the farm. It is basically an online replacement for those traditional “punch cards” that give you a free haircut after 10 visits or whatever the place of business happens to be.

Here’s how it works – if a merchant signs up for Groupon Rewards, then customers can register their credit cards through Groupon Rewards.

If those customers visit said merchant, they’ll automatically start earning toward a reward. The amount of money that customers need to spend to earn a reward, and the reward itself, can be entirely controlled by the merchant.

It’s a much more flexible and permanent system than the way Groupon currently works.

Groupon was once one of the biggest names in the Internet, but recently it has been losing value. The company hopes Groupon Rewards will make it viable again.

Speaking of the pilot program, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said, “Though the preliminary dataset is small, pilot results show that Groupon Rewards customers are more loyal than other customers.”

We’ll see if Groupon Rewards manages to get the site back on track.