Attracting new customers is always tough — in terms of expending time and resources. However, due to on-going dominance of mobile (on both e-commerce and social platforms) and the emergence of location-based services, it can become a bit easier.
Mobile and location-based applications are two key platforms that bridge the gap between the offline and online world. The information provided through location-based services offer consumers a chance to find the best companies to do business with; usually consisting of maps, addresses, and pictures. Customers with access, via mobile phones, can more easily be engaged with your business … increasing the likelihood of an in-store visit.
This is where Foursquare comes in — a location-based social networking website for mobile devices with an estimated user base of 40 million worldwide. Meanwhile, 1.6 million businesses use its Merchant Platform.
Foursquare is a free application that aims to help users find the perfect places to go with friends and discover the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area. Once a user conducts a search with Foursquare, from their mobile device, it taps into the GPS receiver to learn the users current location. This allows Foursquare to suggest establishments nearby showing the user a map, pictures, and addresses. If the user then decides to go to the place of business, upon arrival he or she would “check in” and Foursquare then broadcasts the users whereabouts to their network.
Users may leave tips for an establishment, or comments, that are viewable by others. For brick and mortar businesses this can be used as a tool to help others in your local community get to know you better through third-party reviews and testimonials.
If a customer visits a place of business frequently they can gain electronic rewards in the form of badges. These badges may offer better deals on the next visit, such as discounts or free samples. Then if a user collects enough badges they can become “mayor” of an establishment.
Why Should Businesses Use Foursquare?
Aside from its large user base, and the utility it provides, there are other good reasons why businesses should use Foursquare. Location based services are here to stay. According to Pew Internet Research, “trends show the ascent of location awareness and the role it might play in the life of users—and the technology companies that are scrambling to provide more alert-style applications that tell people who and what is near them. Local is a bigger part of the broader social media landscape, and the rise of local services is strongly tied to the increase in smartphone ownership.” Moreover, businesses should consider the use of location based services like Foursquare because:
- there is increasing demand for brands to provide a unique user experience while not going over-board with customer acquisition costs.
- third party reviews and testimonials can garner favorable perceptions amongst audiences.
- mobile technology and Internet connectivity are quickly advancing while becoming cheaper and more widely available.
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