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LivingSocial is the biggest competitor to Groupon, and at face value the companies do the very same thing - offering customers daily coupon deals of the day via online methods.

But strong opinions among customers using the coupons and retailers distributing the coupons through the sites exist. The questions of which one to use as a buyer, and which one to use as a product seller, are worthy points for consideration.

Here, then, are the strengths and differences according to research between Groupon and LivingSocial for shoppers and retailers using the the services to attract customers (may the best deal win):

Shoppers: Groupon Offers the Highest Discounts

Groupon has more deals daily than Living Social and many users say Groupon has the best deals - i.e., the lowest prices of things they want. I am a member of both services, says one user in a post on, and have bought coupons in the past from both as well. But, where a good deal comes along every once in a while on LivingSocial; it seems that almost everyday an amazing deal comes out on Groupon. Blogger Melanie Pinola at expanded on that theme, of Groupon offering the best deals daily in terms of price, writing that two weeks of research about daily deals revealed that Groupon offers ranged from 50 percent to 80 percent off, while Living Social's deals were generally just 50 percent off.

Shoppers: Living Social Offers the Highest Quality

Because it does fewer deals and some say is more selective, if that's possible, many users prefer LivingSocial because they think that company provides higher quality in its deals across the board - not relative to price, but the product or service received after purchase. LivingSocial is for the more discerning buyer, in other words, some say. Prices don't go as low, on average, but the quality is higher among the many daily deals, many users say.

Merchants: Groupon's Customer Service is Lacking

Chicago-based entrepreneur Romil Patel got first-hand attention from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason two months ago when he blogged about terrible experience with Groupon over a deal he did, citing low and slow response from the sales rep who put the deal together and a high rate of sub-par, money-losing business that came through the door of his pizza restaurant. My gripe, he wrote, is about how Groupon handles its customer service for merchants. Working with LivingSocial was much better he said. Patel went so far as to say LivingSocial wouldn't do his deal until the season was right, meaning the company wanted to wait until the best time to do the deal instead of just rushing it out.

Merchants: LivingSocial Yields More Return Business

Many retailers are already completely worn out by the daily deals bubble. Like the cupcake craze, one can only take in so much at once, even when it's a good thing. The problem cited by most every retailer using any of the daily deal companies is that much of the business is mediocre at best, a one-time rush by buyers who only want something for little to nothing who rarely ever come back. Many retailers cite better experiences with LivingSocial buyers of their products or services, however, claiming they sometimes pick up new customers from the experience, and that LivingSocial customers are easier to work with.