Social networking website Foursquare recently renovated its merchant platform, allowing businesses to further leverage its location-based marketing opportunities. The new tools available to businesses offer marketers new avenues for connecting with consumers and gaining insight into their behavior. Here are two of the most valuable features of the updated website platform:
The most obvious addition for both users and merchants is the local updates section. This new feature allows you to provide customers with updates about venue promotions, sales, specials, and events. You can easily integrate text, photos, and deals into your updates. Your business can share an update that applies to locations across the country or one that is only relevant to a single location. The updates, however, are visible only to users who are in the vicinity of your business and who have expressed prior interest in it (by repeatedly checking-in to or “liking” your business).
This is a golden opportunity for marketers: it allows for added communication with loyal customers. The ability to leverage loyalty is critical; loyal customers are often the ones willing to support new sales, increase their spending, and share content about your business on other social platforms. And now Foursquare let’s you target your loyal customers on a local basis, creating a more personalized connection shown to encourage retention and drive sales.
The merchant dashboard feature presents businesses with yet another reason to be on Foursquare. Now, in addition to engaging their customers, business owners can gain free insights into their behavioral patterns, demographic make-up, and check-in statistics. You can examine trends in foot traffic to specific locations or view data representative of your entire business and optimize your marketing strategy accordingly. The dashboard also lets you see how many check-ins are broadcast via Facebook and Twitter. So by simply claiming your business on Foursquare, you are given access to free, real-time data about your customers. Sounds like a pretty good deal.
The redesign comes at a strategic time for Foursquare, as the platform’s gamification techniques (i.e., badges and mayorship) that defined its initial success are declining in popularity. While these features are still available to Foursquare users, greater emphasis is now placed on social aspects like venue recommendations from consumers as well as the updates from businesses described above. Overall, it seems the makeover holds great promise for both businesses and consumers, as it facilitates scalable, targeted engagement.
Readers, what do you think of Foursquare’s new merchant platform? How do you plan on leveraging the tools made available to your business?