Groupon has grown like wild fire recently and has really become a major player in the mobile world. The app is extremely simple to understand. It offers daily deals on all kinds of local products and services.

The service is available in most major cities now and really does bring an interesting look into coupons as a service. Instead of providing a list of available deals in your area, the app has only a few deals a day. Each deal is usually very specific and only available for a day. This is very similar to a lot of online sites like but instead offers more of a coupon perspective than a sales perspective.

The idea is that you’ll see a great deal on the app, you’ll purchase it, and then bring the digital coupon to the store that offered the deal and redeem it by showing them your phone. Although I haven’t really found any deals that appealed to me in the time I’ve known about this app, I definitely could see how it could be a huge tool for finding great deals. Definitely download it and see what’s in your area.

Recent deals from my area (Raleigh, NC) included combo deals on golf lessons, a bucket of golf balls, and a flat discount on items purchased at a local driving range; $10 off the purchase of $20 worth of quality steaks and other meats from a local butcher shop; 50 percent off a massage, and more.

The most compelling element of Groupon isn’t the “coupons” offered, but the “group” purchasing concept. Local businesses set a hard number on how many people must buy a special deal before it’s activated. This guarantees a set number of customers, and encourages early purchasers to spread the word to local friends and family via email or their Twitter and Facebook accounts to be sure the offer is activated by day’s end.

Thanks to its huge popularity, many rivals with similar business model has been launched and became populare in the last years, including but not limited to Living Social, Woot or RetailMeNot.

If you see a daily deal you wish to purchase via the app, clicking “Buy” connects you to the company’s website, where you can complete the sale. (Hence the reason many are calling the app “read only” – there’s currently no checkout function built into the app.) You can even redeem purchased Groupons and see side deals using the app; just click “More Deals” in the menu.

If you’re already a Groupon addict, you may find it easier to simply bookmark their existing website on your home computer, or sign up for their morning email alerts to see each day’s deal.

I like the best discovering new places and activities that I would never try anyway and I often go back later to them same place without having a coupon – I think this is what business owners hope when launching a coupon.

The smartphone app is, of course, the best way to check on the daily deal when you’re on the go. Keep in mind, if you frequently travel to the cities covered by Groupon, your phone will use your GPS to get a lock on your current location and show you local deals.

[appbox googleplay com.groupon]