To date, Foursquare has offered minimal competition in the world of social networking from an effective marketing standpoint because it has focused more on fun rather than brand awareness. The reality is while it acts as a marketing tool, people get caught up in the frivolous features like its points-driven race for mayor (sadly, a title I've yet to hold).
If you've neglected to use Foursquare in the past, it's time to recognize that it's evolving in a way that may benefit the mystery shopping industry. The main benefit relates to their micro-check-in upgrade. Let's look at specifically what Foursquare is up to and why it matters:
- What is this change? Micro-check-ins offered by Foursquare allow individuals to check in at a location that falls within another check-in point. In the past, you could simply check in at a store like Macy's with no ability to check into the cosmetics department or the coffee shop WITHIN Macy's for a cup of java.
- Why does this matter? In order for retailers to use Foursquare to gauge customer experience and use Foursquare to get more insight on their shoppers, they need to know where people are going and what they're doing. A customer that can only check in at a mall truly isn't providing any information to retailers. The frequency she is visiting a specific store is unknown, and if she leaves feedback with her check-in, she could be referencing an experience at any retailer. The same applies in a department store. Micro-check-ins can help these retailers determine which departments are leaving customers the most satisfied or dissatisfied so they can identify areas for improvement and reinforce those that are meeting expectations.
- What can retailers learn from Foursquare? With the use of Foursquare, retailers can get insight into the shopping habits of their customers (sometimes by demographic), customer satisfaction based on feedback and referrals and develop a new venue to reach out to prospective customers to increase brand awareness.
What do you think about these Foursquare changes as a retailer? Will it change your use of this social networking tool?