H&M, Sports Authority Join New foursquare And American Express Mobile Commerce Rollout

Location-based applications like foursquare, shopkick and Loopt have transformed shopping into the ultimate gaming experience, rewarding customers with points and badges when they check in to vendor locations. With the check-in, retailers also receive the opportunity to build a strong customer base by offering special deals and coupons specifically for app users.

Since its inception in 2009, foursquare has acquired more than 10 million users worldwide and records more than three million check-ins per day. The New York City-based company is a current leader in the location app trend in terms of number of users, and is teaming with new retailers daily to provide shoppers with optimal brand engagement and offers they can’t refuse.

Following foursquare’s trial campaign with American Express during the South by Southwest music festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, the companies have rolled out a national partnership. The March 2011 campaign offered a $5 discount to local merchants and $5 savings on monthly credit statements to customers who linked their credit card and foursquare account. This new venture follows a similar format, delivering coupon-less deals and savings on credit card statements to shoppers who check in to supported stores and pay with their American Express card.


Members sync credit card account information into their foursquare accounts in order to access information and unlock deals when they check in to a location. Specials are redeemed and savings are automatically applied when shoppers complete purchases using a mobile American Express account. The new venture is powered by American Express’ Offer APIs, which is designed to enable retailers to measure the success of location-based marketing campaigns. American Express stores card information in its encrypted data servers once it is entered, according to a press release. 

Currently, retailers offering specials through the American Express program include: H&M and Sports Authority, and multiple branches of New York City’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Exclusive deals for American Express cardholders include:

·      H&M: spend $75, get $10 back

·      Sports Authority: spend $50, get $20 back

·      Union Square Hospitality Group
        – Blue Smoke:
spend $100, get $15 back
        – The Modern:
spend $150, get $25 back
        – Union Square Café:
spend $100, get $15 back
        – “Untitled” at the Whitney:
spend $25, get 20% off

H&M Finds Location-Based Success
Swedish apparel and accessories retailer H&M has built its business model on the notion of providing affordable yet fashionable apparel to shoppers through more than 2,300 stores in 41 countries. With a 2010 turnover of more than $20 billion, H&M has consistently participated in social media trends including Facebook, Twitter and foursquare to expand brand outreach and ignite interaction with consumers. By joining the new venture with American Express and foursquare, the brand will effectively communicate with its current customer base, while simultaneously gaining new brand fans, said Charlotta Nemlin, press officer for H&M.

“With the H&M application, we give the possibility for our customers to experience H&M wherever they are,” Nemlin told Retail TouchPoints. “We see this, as with all other marketing channels such as ordinary advertising and our presence in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as a way of communicating with our customers and inviting them to visit any of our stores on shop online.”

Nemlin also noted that many customers “appreciate the offers they get through foursquare.”

Foursquare’s CEO, Dennis Crowley further explained that the new partnership will benefit retailers by providing them with metrics to measure success of application marketing efforts, and also will make the redemption process easier for users.

“Partnering with American Express to offer specials to their millions of card members on a nationwide basis not only allows us to provide a completely seamless redemption experience to both users and merchants; it also enables merchants to really measure the success of their offline marketing efforts with foursquare,” Crowley said in a press release. “The load-to-card functionality of the Smart Offer APIs provides the millions of American Express merchants with an effortless way to serve up Specials to our more than 10 million users.”

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