The Goal

Groupon is creating the ability for customer’s to combine the redemption of a Groupon voucher with paying the remainder of their bill. For instance, a customer would be able to pay for the items they purchased beyond the value of their voucher along with the tip using their credit card on file with Groupon. 

Our goals were threefold.

  • Remove some of the confusion that surrounds using Groupon vouchers—such as when consumers need to tell businesses they’ll be using a Groupon
  • Make the redemption and checkout process seamless for both customer and business
  • Guarantee servers (massage therapists, service providers, etc.) received their tip on the full value of the service rather than the discounted amount

The Audience

One of the greatest incentives for Merchant adoption is the guarantee of tips on the full bill value. Therefore, the first category to be targeted are businesses in the food and drink segment. We will be piloting the program in Chicago with Groupon food and drink businesses. Phase two involves merchants in the health and beauty sector, and finally rollout to the entire US merchant platform. My involvement was focused on the merchant experience for this product. Therefore, I focused on the interactions which would be taken by servers, receptionists, or business owners to complete and track the Pay with Groupon transactions.  


The Team

The Pay with Groupon team is comprised of a individuals across the customer and merchant experiences. The merchant experience focuses on the marketing, education, and transactional elements of the product. The larger team has grown to include product managers, product operations, design, and engineering. Another product designer led the consumer side while I led merchant experience. In addition to the design work, I organized and moderated exploratory interviews in Seattle and the Bay area and a usability study in Chicago.  




The Pay with Groupon program has a variety of technical and behavioral constraints. 


1. We do not have POS integration.

  • This forced us to create workarounds for the reconciliation between the Pay with Groupon transactions and the traditional bookkeeping system currently used by the businesses.
  • This also meant that we could not produce an itemized receipt without significant effort on the part of the merchant user.

2. The financial system that pays out deal payments is different that than we use for credit card processing. 

  • Payment transfers would be surfaced in a different part of the Merchant Center, disconnected from their bi-monthly deal payments.

3. Payment behaviors differ across merchant types and the proposed transaction needs to work across all business types.

  • The business segments each presented their own unique set of challenges when it came to the payment scenario. Creating a system that was adaptable to the different environments and met the needs of each business was a challenge.

Design Process

Pay with Groupon’s design process was extremely iterative. The consumer and merchant experience were initially tackled simultaneously by myself and another product designer—allowing each of us to look out for our own user as we worked on the holistic system. The Pay with Groupon product began as a very open-ended problem statement. We were able to think about each of the necessary touchpoints involved, in addition to the effect it would have pre-established social behaviors.

The merchant experience evolved to react to the customer-initiated actions. The MVP for the merchant experience focused on the Merchant mobile app and included a transaction flow, transaction approval process for customer submitted payments, pending transaction list view, and payment transfer list view with individual payment breakdowns. 


The design process resulted in a variety of scenarios which we took to Merchants for feedback. When a final concept had been determined I developed a prototype which was tested by several merchants during a usability study in Chicago. The Merchant feedback helped to shape the transaction flow and provided invaluable insight into how we needed to explain the product in the education and onboarding materials. 

The identification of food and drink merchants as our initial users led us to design and develop the tablet experience alongside mobile. Tablet was deemed necessary earlier than initially anticipated because of the tablet device's high usage rate by food and drink merchants as their current means of redemption.

The Pay with Groupon experience touched many existing features. The transaction was built into the current redemption flow as a dynamic action only surfaced if a customer had initiated a payment with the Merchant. Merchants would complete the transaction and then charge the customer. The completed charge would also trigger an alert to customers that notified them their receipt was available. A new section was created within the mobile app where the pending transactions were displayed and the payment transfers were communicated.


Pay with Groupon's MVP was built into the existing Merchant mobile app, with tablet following shortly after. Mobile and tablet platforms were targeted because food and drink merchants utilize mobile devices more than laptops to complete transactional activities. Similarly, through our user research we found redemption to be already happening on these platforms which meant tablets were already close at hand. 

Unfortunately, Pay with Groupon no longer exists as a standalone feature. It was deprecated to focus on other solutions that minimized the need for customers to manually redeem their voucher. 



Early on in the project the consumer and merchant experience worked in unison. As the project grew, and the team size increased, the design experience became less centralized. The merchant experience became increasingly dependent on decisions made by those leading the consumer side of the feature which caused the merchant side to transition to a more reactive design process.

With hindsight, I would have created a dedicated design meet-up. A regular meeting where the designer focused on the customer side of the experience and I could have one-on-one time to to focus on keeping the two flows more aligned specifically from a design and experience standpoint.