“Checking-In” with Smart Phone

- July 21, 2010

I, like most cost conscious consumers, love loyalty or reward programs, and easily achievable rewards are on the top of my list. Thankfully, my family’s favorite restaurant offers a nice 10% discount. Couple this fact with an award winning brew master and I’m more likely to agree to their request to eat out.  Here at MoreVisibility we rotate responsibility for bringing in bagels, so why not frequent the shop that provides me with a free dozen after purchasing twelve.  I simple present my card at time of check out and they stamp the next number on the card until I have filled up, and then the dozen is free.

A new e-loyalty system is now in its infancy and growing in popularity, using Foursquare’s application for smart phones.  Foursquare combines social networking and location by awarding users that “check in” at bars, restaurants and other business via their smart phone.  The application leverages your smart phone’s GPS and allows participants to identify where they are via checking-in.  If the location exists and is participating in the program the person checking-in may be accumulating loyalty points they can use for goods or services offered by the business. If the business is not participating, the person checking-in can leave a “tip” for others using Foursquare to read up on and possibly drive traffic for the business.  Becoming the Mayor of a particular store is a title you earn via having more visits in a period of time than any other “friend” also using Foursquare.  You may lose your title of Mayor to one of your friends who learned about the business and Foursquare would let you know that via email. Competition between your friends could easily escalate.  For instance the “Mayor” of the local ice cream shop, may also be in running to be the “Mayor” of the local gym.

Considering the huge adoption in smart phones, it makes sense for firms to consider using Foursquare’s service for promoting their goods and services.  The hospitality industry folks are going to lead the early adaptors, since it provides a trendy method to promote their goods and services and allows for an inexpensive way to create a buzz.  In today’s tough economy any marketing initiative that rewards your customers with discounts and freebies will be a winner.  The process to “claim” your business and join is straightforward.  If you know your customers’ demographic includes these early technology adaptors, get started with the latest loyalty program and see ‘em “check-in”.

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