10 Mar

Foursquare 3.0 | Check-Ins Become More than an Ego Boost

  • “Why do you check-in?”
  • “Isn’t it creepy that people know where you are?”
  • “Haven’t you heard of Please Rob Me?”
  • “Put your phone away!”

We have all heard the various complaints from non-tech friends badgering us to justify our constant reliance of our mobile devices. And we have all shown them the value of always being connected. Whether our smartphones suggested the closest bowling alley to my house, recommended to stay clear of the chili cheese fries or enabled us to buy one beer and get a second free after checking-in, every new digital communication tool, application and rewards system offers constant benefits in our lives.

Well, thanks to Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, the check-in service’s latest application, version 3.0, is going to make every check-in count. Review the following post for each new update and how it may be useful to your small business:

Recommendation Engine

Remember Foursquare Tips? They allowed for patrons of a business to leave recommendations for future customers. Now, Foursquare users are still allowed to leave feedback, but Foursquare’s database will be offering individual recommendations based on their past check-ins, their friends check-in habits and much more. While the exact formula is not public, Crowley hinted that factors even include what places your friends have been which you have not as well as the current time of day and day of the week!

Small businesses that have not claimed their location on Foursquare should see version 3.0 as even more incentive. Arranging for specials, coupons and discounts through the service in addition to encouraging visitors to check-in may prove to be even more valuable. Imagine if your retail store sells shovels and there is another Snowmageddon swarm in New York City. You could be the number one recommended location for the nearly 1 million residents of the Big Apple!

Merchant Features

Merchants are now able to offer even more types of specials to their loyal customers: Check-in Specials, Friend Specials, Flash Specials (e.g. the first 10 people to show up after 5 p.m. get a free drink), Swarm Specials, Newbie Specials, Mayor Specials and Loyalty Specials. In addition to new rewards for users who check-in, the Foursquare application will now display nearby deals in the places tab – this was previously impossible.

Crowley had a simple goal when he created Foursquare, and version 3.0 is a step closer to bringing his vision to fruition. “We help build tools that make it easier to explore the world,” he says.

What if your business was able to instantly update a Foursquare deal? Let’s take a small barbershop as an example. The owner loves New York sports teams. So, after a big win by the Rangers (hockey for those non-sports fans out there), he could instantly update his account for a Flash Special: “The next 5 people to come into the store get a 50% discount! Go Rangers!”

American Express Partnership

The most interesting announcement to be made inconjunction with the release of version 3.0 is a strategic partnership with American Express. With SXSW taking place next week in Austin, TX, Foursquare plans to offer discounts at 40 locations in and around the Interactive event. Foursquare became popular after early adopters at the technology based event feel in love with the service back in 2009. This new iteration is sure to be a success by enabling Foursquare and their merchant deals to remove the friction from a transaction.

For example, when I redeem my free medium coffee at any Crumbs location on every Friday, I have to show my phone and make sure the server understands that it is for free. However, when a Foursquare user syncs their account with their American Express Card, this exchange becomes computer facilitated and takes out the guess work.

The partnership is only planned to take place in Austin during the SXSW festival, but depending on its success, we could see this available nation wide in the near future. Talk about a win for Foursquare!