Groupon’s purchase form leads to mistakes

Groupon’s got a great business model: Subscribers get one offer every morning in their inbox from a local restaurant or business, and a time period to redeem that offer. They have tons of revenue. This morning I purchased my first Groupon. Even though I’m a pretty advanced computer user, I failed their purchase process and had to enter in my credit card data twice, as well as make two purchases. Let’s break down why it happened.

The offer was for Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs. I emailed a friend and she agreed it looked awesome, so I clicked on the link to make the purchase. Here’s their purchase page, which every user receives, unless they’ve previously logged into Groupon and set cookies to remember their login and password.

Note I’ve tried to buy two Groupons at the top of the form. I start entering in my personal information, password and credit card info. What I actually need to do is login first, like every customer that gets the Groupon emails.

After I’ve gotten out my credit card and punched in the information, I click “Complete My Order.” But I’m told by Groupon that my email address is already registered (of course, I subscribe to the email) and that I need to sign in first.

So I go back to the sign up form and click the light green “Sign In” button, which I’ve completely ignored up to this point. With the purchase information right there in front of me, why should I bother signing in?

Now that I’ve signed in, all of my information’s gone and I need to enter it all in again. I enter all my credit card and billing information again, and then get told “Congratulations! You’ve bought 1 Groupon for Cecil’s Ribs!” but of course I wanted to order two – Groupon reset the quantity while I was logging in.

Now I have to click on the deal again and click “Buy Groupon” to get one more. This time Groupon’s saved my credit card info, so I don’t have to enter it again. However, it’s generally not good practice to take people’s credit card information without their consent.

Finally I have my two Groupons. I’ve had to enter in my data twice and I’ve had to make two separate purchases. All in all, this is pretty bad usability for a well-known company, and I hope they fix it soon. They need to filter users with accounts from users without accounts, through a two-stage purchase screen, or email link magic, or allow everyone to make a purchase without using an account.

And now checking the site for the third time, I notice that you can only use one Groupon per table. All in all, a frustrating customer experience.

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