Keeping pace with the social scene, Foursquare is emerging as another way consumers can keep friends informed about their whereabouts and favorite places to shop. The startup presents a new opportunity for retailers to optimize their CRM and loyalty efforts, as customers “check in.”
With the Foursquare platform, users "check-in" to tell about their whereabouts. When users check-in someplace, Foursquare tells their friends where they can find and recommend places to go and things to do nearby. Users can check in at all kind of places — cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices.
The concept is to give friends the opportunity to check in with others and keep them informed of the places they frequent. And while the platform is geared toward a social circle of recommendations, the potential for retail is alive and well on the loyalty front.
Each time a user checks in using Fourquare, they earn points. As the Fourquare site puts it, “Find a new place in your neighborhood? +5 points. Making multiple stops in a night? +2 points. Dragging friends along with you? +1.”
As users frequently check in, they can unlock “badges” for discovering new places and traveling to far away places. In addition, users who frequent the same places can earn greater status for their loyalty — cue in the potential for retail. If users have been to a place more than anyone else, they become "the mayor"... until someone else comes along and steals the title.
Foursquare can tell retailers and businesses how many times a customer has visited or the frequency of their visits. Many venues are now using this data to reward their most loyal customers with freebies or discounts.
Social network users love sharing information, and this type of voluntary sharing can work in favor of retailers because they are opting into businesses already with the hopes of earning points.
Here are some examples of companies using different reward schedules to honor their loyal customers:
- Atomic Wings (in NYC) gives customers 15% off if they are the mayor.
- Ben & Jerry's (in Detroit) gives customers a free small cone for every fifth check-in. Mayors get 10%.
- Xoom (NYC) gives customers a free smoothie when they buy one and check in with a friend.
- The Lite Choice (NYC) offers free upgrades to a larger size cup or cone just by checking in.
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