Shortly following the release of Facebook Places, the social networking powerhouse has jumped on the location-based application bandwagon with the announcement of Facebook Deals.
Following in the footsteps of Foursquare, the new Deals app is designed to allow users to see available offers from nearby restaurants and retailers. Upon checking in, they can redeem deals, tell friends where they are and find out who is nearby.
To retrieve rewards, users simply download the latest version of Facebook for iPhone and Android or go to touch.facebook.com, touch “Places” and “Check In” at the desired location — locations with available offers have a yellow icon next to it. Users then view and claim the deal, and show it to a cashier to receive the special.
The differentiating aspect of Facebook Deals is that it has several types of deals available, depending on the merchant. “Individual deals” are available for a single-user discount, free merchandise or other rewards and “friend deals” are available so users can claim an offer with friends by tagging them in a check in. “Loyalty deals” are rewards for frequent visitors of a location, and “charity deals” are offered when businesses pledge to donate to a cause when users check in.
The app currently has partnerships with 22 U.S. outlets including 24 Hour Fitness, American Eagle, Chipotle, Gap, H&M, Macy’s and Starbucks. Harrah’s and The Palms hotels are also offering free nightclub admission or a free extra night for checking in.
Facebook’s towering presence in the social media world will be the key differentiator between Deals and other check-in apps like Foursquare, Loopt and Shopkick. Because so many users are already loyally connected to Facebook, the transition and convenience of checking in will be easier, making it a top threat for competitors.