Foursquare Should Focus on Delivering Vouchers in E-Commerce Expansion
Earlier this month, Foursquare announced in its company blog that it had secured $41 million in funding. The investment will be used to support the company’s growth, which in the past year has become increasingly focused on e-commerce.
I have to admit that I originally started using Foursquare only for a bit of fun: earning points, unlocking badges and trying to become mayor of CCS Insight offices. But more recently I’ve started occasionally using the Explore bar to search recommendations of local businesses.
I particularly like Foursquare’s loyalty programme, which highlights deals in its Specials category. These usually include a voucher or deal for a selected merchant, which can be redeemed when you check in.
Foursquare hasn’t revealed specific details of what it plans to do next, other than developing its tools to connect local businesses to customers. But Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, has hinted that he wants to continue pushing the company’s loyalty programme. I think this would be a smart move.
Foursquare’s in a great position to deliver highly relevant deals specific to a location because of its wealth of location data. And it has a network of 33 million registered users checking in at various locations across the globe.
Certainly in comparison with other voucher mobile applications like Vouchercloud and O2 Priority Moments, I actually find myself opening Foursquare more often. This is not because Foursquare’s app is necessarily better or the deals are more attractive (indeed I think the latter is something that could be improved). It’s mainly because I’m already used to checking in normally on Foursquare and hence more likely to spot a deal when I do so.
I’m not sure it’s fair to make the same comparison with Groupon and Living Social because they don’t deliver such location-based deals. They focus mainly on outings and online orders.
I would really like to see Foursquare increase its merchant partners and secure more exclusive vouchers and discounts as its main priority when moving into e-commerce. I even think there could be some interesting opportunities to team up with voucher- and coupon-redeeming companies like Mobeam or Podifi. This would allow Foursquare to deploy other technologies at checkouts and make redeeming vouchers easier than using the current awkward code-entry system.
It’s an exciting time for Foursquare as the company looks for ways shift its focus away from its social networking roots. And I think location-based vouchers could be an answer.
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