Someone is missing the point of Foursquare and I don’t think it’s me. (I don’t mean to brag, but I am the Mayor of three places, including Summit Marketing, St. Louis.) Please correct me if I’ve got it all wrong. If I haven’t been using the app properly then, by all means, let me know so that others can learn from my silly mistakes.
Before you read any more, I must disclose something that you may find hard to believe. I am not a socialite. I don’t hit all the trendy spots in town and ‘Check In’ to announce my presence to all my online friends. I don’t use Foursquare as a tool to find out where all my friends are hanging. I have one friend on Foursquare and she’s my wife. (Gotta keep tabs on her somehow :>)
So maybe that’s why I’m not seeing any benefit to Foursquare. Does the number of friends you have influence how many or what kind of offers you get? Nope. At least I didn’t find any mention of that when I read about using specials within Foursquare’s merchant section. http://support.foursquare.com/entries/481480-what-are-foursquare-specials
So unless I’m missing something, the businesses around here are definitely missing something. They’re missing out on my loyalty.
For the past two months I’ve been using Foursquare to check in at the different businesses I visit. I have yet to receive or unlock a special that has benefited me. Not even a Newbie special or a special when I became Mayor.
I visit some places, like grocery stores, 1-3 times a week. (Don’t I live an exciting life?) I think grocery stores provide a great example for our discussion here. A couple miles from my home, two competing grocery stores (Dierberg’s and Schnuck’s) are located across the street from each other. I drive past them every day so they’re both equally convenient. Here’s the thing…I’m not loyal to either store. Some days I go to Schnuck’s, some days I go to Dierberg’s. I don’t have any rhyme or reason for that. Over the past two months I’ve checked in at Schnuck’s 9 times and Dierberg’s 7 times. And I have absolutely nothing to show for it. OK, every once in a while I get a nifty little badge icon and a congratulatory message on my phone from the nice folks at Foursquare, but not one thing from the actual store where I’m checking in.
All it would take is for one of the stores to give me a valuable special and they would get the lion’s share of my business. Now I don’t expect them to turn my visit into that awesome old game show, Supermarket Sweep, but $5 off a purchase of $50 would be cool.
Giving me a simple offer like that would engage me and allow me to interact with their brand on my phone. More important, it would make me want to continue to check in at their store to see what other specials I could unlock. The more specials I would unlock, the more connected to the brand I would become.
In a way, a check in is like a consumer asking a business for some love. When check in after check in gets ignored, it’s like the business’ way of rejecting their customers. One can only take so much rejection before moving on.
I can see the potential value Foursquare offers to businesses and consumers. But until businesses “get it”, I don’t see how Foursquare will survive. The potential will go unfulfilled. If there’s nothing in it for me, then why should I care?
So do I have this all wrong or do you agree with me? What are your experiences with Foursquare? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.