Groupon CEO on AMC partnership, transforming his platform into a 'utility'

  • Groupon CEO Rich Williams discusses his e-commerce platform's trajectory with CNBC's Jim Cramer.
  • Williams speaks to Groupon's recent partnership with movie theater giant AMC Networks.
  • The CEO tells Cramer that he wants to turn Groupon into a "utility" for consumers.

Fewer emails and a wider array of offerings are the recipe for success at Groupon as the e-commerce platform tries to transform itself into more of a "utility" for consumers, CEO Rich Williams told CNBC on Monday.

"We have great brand awareness," Williams told Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview on "Mad Money." "We're north of 80 percent. People know who we are. I think our opportunity there is to move just from people knowing who we are and what we've been to where we are moving and what we are now, which is a utility they can use every single day."

For Groupon, which has gained popularity since its 2008 launch for offering deep discounts on travel and lifestyle offerings, that means cutting back on its emails to consumers and daily deals, and instead offering a consistent spread of great deals at the best possible prices.

Williams envisions a place consumers can "trust when they're hungry, when they're bored, [or] when they just want something to do on the weekend with their kids," he told Cramer.

As part of this shift — which the CEO cast as more of a "transformation" than a turnaround because of its scale — Groupon has partnered with AMC Entertainment Holdings, a massive movie theater operator. Set to launch in the first half of 2019, the partnership will allow Groupon to sell tickets to AMC theaters on its online marketplace.

"We're really excited about being able to partner with AMC to ... offer that ability for people, when they want to go see a movie and they're thinking of Groupon, [to] just buy the ticket, and, ultimately, work with [AMC] over time to make sure that we're providing that kind of pricing specialty that we bring to the table in a way that works for customers and works for them," Williams said.

The deal could bring Groupon a step closer to one of its goals: becoming a much more frequented platform for consumers looking for deals on a daily basis.

"People use us, call it, four or five times a year. Our opportunity in local, where you shop most of the time, is four or five times a week, so that's what we're building toward," Williams said. "And those are the metrics to look at long-term, that we have a lot of customers buying more frequently in a profitable way."

Groupon's stock rose 1.6 percent in Monday's trading as investors embraced the AMC deal. Its closing share price was $3.12 and remained unchanged in after-hours trading.

Watch Rich Williams' full interview here:

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