Two Big Hires at Groupon

 | Oct 03, 2013 | 10:50 AM EDT  | Comments
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Groupon (GRPN) is getting a bump this morning, thanks to two key hires.

As AllThingsD reported this morning, the company hired Robbie Schwietzer, who was most recently the SVP of Amazon.com (AMZN) Prime. Additionally, Groupon hired former Angie's List (ANGI) exec David Kerr.

Schwietzer will immediately become the SVP of operations, presumably reporting to Kal Raman, who is the company's COO.

Kerr is being tapped to head up a project of creating a marketplace of home-related service providers for Groupon.

Investors are reacting positively to the news this morning. Groupon shares are up 2%. You could say they're getting the Amazon treatment.

But investors are right to start noticing the similarities between Amazon and Groupon.

In many ways, Groupon is trying to recreate itself as a new kind of Amazon, one that it much better plugged into the key trends of mobile and local in relation to e-commerce.

Amazon still gets enormous credit from investors for being the leading e-commerce company in the United States. It's invested heavily into its distribution centers so that it can continue to serve the public well for years with unparalleled choice of goods (including new ones that it's rolling out such as groceries).

But Amazon is almost 18 years old. And, at the end of the day, it is still the same as it ever was: a big website.

It has been built on the idea of scale, price and choice. That's great for a website, but we are still waiting to see how people's behavior is different in a mobile environment rather than a desktop environment.

Groupon is trying to create the new model for e-commerce in that mobile and local world. It's moving away from the daily e-mail push model to a pull model where users go to Groupon to discover the world around them as they move about in it. They're not the only one gearing for this. Yelp (YELP) is going after this market big time.

So, it's stocking its management ranks with ex-Amazon folks. That's not surprising. Its CFO is from Amazon, as well as several others. 

For these folks, they obviously see more upside and a higher job position at Groupon compared to where they were at Amazon. Does it ensure success? Obviously not. But it's a good sign that Groupon is on the right track if it can keep attracting folks from good companies and integrate them well into the fold.

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