On November 4th Facebook launched it’s much anticipated Facebook Deals, integrated with the extremely popular Facebook iPhone app will allow you to find special offers for businesses near you. Much like the Foursquare offers, you will now be able to find retailers near you that offer discounts, coupons and more which should spur on more creative attempts from businesses to get you to visit their stores.
Facebook seem to be taking their deals one step further than Foursquare by offering merchants the usual individual deals to get discounts, free stuff or other rewards, loyalty deals for the returning customers but also offering friend deals where a group of friends can gain a deal together as well as charity deals allowing donations to a good cause. One of the first large corporations to take up the Facebook Deals platform is MacDonald’s, whereby they will donate $1 for every check-in, whilst Gap are giving away a free pair of jeans to the first 10,000 check-ins. (New Media Age Facebook Deals Article)
Now at the moment, Facebook Deals are only available on the iPhone app or touch.facebook.com in the USA, but the concept will hit the rest of the world in the New Year, (much like the launch of Facebook Places). As ever, the USA seem to embrace the Social element of this marketing channel immediately, with large businesses integrating it straight away in their Social Media offerings. It will be interesting to see how UK businesses make use of this very powerful marketing tool.
With the increasing widespread use of smart phones, especially the iPhone, it should be a no-brainer from retailers to utilise Facebook Places due to the massive reach of Facebook itself, but the increasing use of mobile devices to multi-task whilst on the move. If whilst out for lunch you could find a 50% off coupon for main meals, only to discover a free bottle of 30ml after shave from your preferred department store if you spend £50, then to know your local supermarket will donate £2 for checking in – you would have quite a productive and discounted afternoon!
Obviously Foursquare have been offering deals for some time, with companies such as Starbucks, Dominos and Debenhams utilising their platform to offer customers discounts, but Facebook has such a large user base it seems difficult to see how they will survive. However, the same day Mark Zuckerberg was announcing the launch of Facebook Deals, CEO of Foursquare Dennis Crowley was describing the future of Foursquare. With customised recommendations, instant check-ins, ‘brand discovery’ where the API learns your favourites and recommends some other similar brands and of course, better deals and offers, Foursquare definitely don’t think they are going anywhere.
It seems that location based software is here to stay, the big question is whether it will be picked up by the mainstream. What do you think?
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