So far, here’s what location-based apps can do for your customers:
- Foursquare lets you tell your “friends” where you are and become mayor of a business. (Does Gowalla do anything different?)
- Google Places and Yelp let you review the businesses you check into.
- SCVNGR rewards you for completing task at specific places.
- Shopkick gives you discounts and rewards when you complete a virtual treasure hunt.
There are more services but this list covers the basic rewards of location-based apps. So what’s the big deal? Are your customers really going to use these apps? Here’s an interesting take on it all:
What we’ve known for a long time is that what consumers really crave is control over the shopping experience and with it, the information required to make informed and satisfying buying decisions.
Doug Stephens specifically points to ShopSavvy for showing shoppers where they can get the best deal on what they want. Stephens says consumers want to learn something. I agree. In the long run, successful location-based apps and campaigns will answer any of these questions:
- Where can I find something to eat/drink/buy near me now?
- Can anyone tell me if this is a good place to eat/drink/buy?
- Is there a better price for this?
- Is this the best solution for me?
The first question is a key question for businesses who cater to tourists. Because a tourist is a customer who doesn’t know where to spend money. You need a location-based campaign that will explain to tourists why they should spend their money at your business.
Anything that makes customer reviews available to a consumer on the road will be relevant to your business.
Now consider what Nicki Hicks says about Foursquare vs. Yelp:
What Yelp has that Foursquare doesn’t
- Quick tips
- Reviews that will be pulled into Google Maps, and other local directories
- Add information about a business (that isn’t necessarily yours)
- Add photos for a business (that isn’t necessarily yours)
I have to agree with her. Especially considering that Yelp has a huge database of reviews. That goes a long way toward answering my first two questions.
If Foursquare is going to stay relevant, it needs to push its tips function. It can become a micro-review site.
What does this mean for your business?
No matter what, your customers are going to have more opportunity to talk about your business in mobile platforms. You need a strategy that encourages them to say good things and publish your content.