Remember Groupon, the company that you might have used to get a deal at your local pizza shop, to see a generic comedy show, or for another unmemorable experience? After launching in 2008 and growing very quickly by spending billions of dollars on marketing, the company slimmed down to develop a more sustainable business, lowering its profile. But today, it has over 48 million customers around the world, about 30 million of whom are in the U.S.

Groupon faced issues in the past that drove merchants away from the platform. First, its brand was associated with the endless discounting of the mid-2000s, which premium brands didn’t want to be associated with. Second, merchants would run promotions on the platform, but they would be selling a dollar for 70 cents—a sure way to win demand, but lose lots of money. These two problems, among other factors, kept merchant retention low.

Today, however, Groupon poses as a potential avenue for customer acquisition—currently the biggest existential threat to consumer brands. These companies have employed a number of methods to continue growing their audience, from oversaturated digital marketing channels like Facebook and Google, to old-school, out-of-home methods such as direct mail, billboards and TV advertisements. These out-of-home methods are becoming increasingly relevant as digitally-native brands open up more retail stores—growth that is largely driven by the rising costs of digital marketing itself. But now, the race is on to find the next great advertising channel. Whatever it is, its initial low costs will inevitably rise as the channel becomes more popular, since most advertising channels are dynamic markets priced on supply and demand.

When it comes to most advertising channels, brands lack ownership and thus are still privy to a middleman. Email stands out for this reason, and most brands take advantage of it by offering a signup discount—often 10-25% off of a customer’s first order or a free item. In these cases, brands heavily incentivize customers to make a purchase (which is good), but also problematically introduce discounting right at the start of the customer relationship (which is bad).

Given the tens of millions of customers on Groupon, where many vendors actively offer first-time discounts to consumers both online and in-store, there’s a lot to gain by experimenting with the platform as a customer acquisition channel. Costs are low, few of their peers use the channel, and more eyeballs are always a positive.

The problem for Groupon—and for its vendors—is the platform’s lack of an attractive brand in its own right. There’s an opportunity for Groupon to build a new, higher-end service and/or whitelabel its existing services, giving premium brands a new avenue to tap into its audience, but this likely won’t happen anytime soon. This obstacle is surmountable for merchants, but it requires using the channel of Groupon selectively, with specific messaging, targeting and products that will create potent entry points for new customers without diluting their own brands in the process. Brands with retail stores looking to build followings in new markets can use Groupon to build local audiences at more efficient prices than they are used to. That should be reason enough to give it a try.