I watched a short video this past weekend on Business Insider that featured Shopkick co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding who spoke about location-based services (LBS). In the video, Roeding provided a simple explanation that mobile LBS applications generate value for retailers by generating traffic. True and personally not too surprising consider how I noticed that my initial interaction with Foursquare was an odd game where I felt motivated to consume by checking-in at new places.
While earning points or rewards can make the check-in experience entertaining and interactive, LBS applications take it a step further by allowing shoppers to expose a storefront and/or products to an entire network of friends. Knowing that we tend to socialize with friends with similar values, tastes and interests, retailers can expect that the exposure will not only bring foot traffic but it will actually attract shoppers that are motivated to make similar purchases. Considering that retail sales were relatively flat in August according to MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse (August 2010), retailers should be looking for every trick in the book to encourage consumers to open up their wallets this final quarter of the year and beyond.
When Facebook announced check-in service Places almost two weeks ago, they also extended the Graph API to allow developers to access check-in data. The API has severe limitations: user could only check-in only via Facebook and check-in data included only people within your network (eg: friends and friends of friends). However, Facebook partners such as FourSquare, Gowalla and others were given priority access to integrate with this new service. As part of their access, they were allowed to enable user check-in via their applications. And as of last week, SCVNGR and Yelp were rolled out this check-in capability.
I tested out the check-in process via both SCVNGR and Yelp on the iPhone.
On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, Facebook launched Places, a location based service that enhances current sharing capabilities (like wall comments, videos, notes, etc.) by allowing user to broadcast their whereabouts to their Facebook friends. The idea behind Places is that Places will simplify and encourage spontaneous interactions with other friends.
Over the past few days, I’ve had a chance to get “under the hood” and check out Facebook Places. Below are the essential things that Facebook marketers and developers need to know about this new service.