Facebook launched Facebook Places a few months ago as a social check-in feature that helps staying connected with friends even easier, and similar to FourSquare, sharing what restaurants and other locations you are at. Taking this idea a step further, last week Facebook launched Facebook Deals. This application adds some extra value to Facebook Places by allowing businesses to offer promotions and discounts to users who visit their stores.
What are Facebook Deals?
It’s takes your relationship with applications like FourSquare and moves it from “just friends” to “friends with benefits.” You can still check in and go as you please, but now there’s a little something extra in it for the both of you. All kidding aside, the new Facebook Deals is a pretty great idea. Once a customer checks in to a business using Facebook Places they can now receive specials and deals immediately and hassle free.
The recent trend of moving away from print coupons to digital deals through services like Groupon, text marketing, and countless promotion applications has been building up to this recent innovation. Facebook Deals takes the idea of Foursquare and its rewards program and incorporates coupons that anyone can use upon checking in to a location.
Unlike Foursquare, Facebook Deals does not necessarily require you to be a frequent visitor involved in a customer rewards program to access the deal. This allows for a larger audience (over 500 million people) that businesses can advertise to and allows customers to experience the benefits faster than ever. It also takes away the needs for a wallet full of those pesky rewards cards.
The four types of deals companies can offer through Facebook Deals are Individual, Friend, Loyalty, and Charity.
- Individual Deals - promotions offered to any individual who checks in to an establishment.
- Friend Deals - require a set number of people to check in together to be eligible for the deal.
- Loyalty Deals - act as a punch card or rewards program and are offered to customers who check into a business numerous times.
- Charity Deals - donate a percent of sales from those members who have checked in.
How can businesses benefit from it?
The best part of Facebook Deals is that it’s free! It’s very easy for users to access and for businesses to set up both national and local promotions. Using this new application is a great way for businesses to reward customers with special offers that help build relationships and encourage users to become advocates of your business. It’s also another great way for businesses to leverage social media and the digital word of mouth advertising that has such a growing importance on today’s advertising.
Facebook Deals makes offering promotions quicker, cheaper, and easier than ever before by utilizing the world’s largest mobile application platform. Businesses that use Facebook Deals are likely to see great success over a vastly expansive audience. It incentivizes users to check-in to a location using Facebook Place in order to take advantage of a promotion.
Upon checking in the story is published to that user’s wall where all of their friends will see it instantly. This is great news given the 200 million mobile Facebook users each averaging about 130 friends. By leveraging different types of deals businesses can get vastly different results. Using Friends Deals will bring in larger groups of customers while Loyalty Deals will keep them coming back for more. The customizable approach is a great way to that the deals you promote get a lot of people in the door.
How can it be used? Where will digital promotion applications go from here?
Currently Facebook Deals is still in Beta and is only available to 20,000 businesses in the US, but is expected to expand rapidly in the upcoming months. As of now stores like Gap, H&M, North Face, McDonalds, Starbucks, and Macy’s have jumped on the first wave and have been offering some very cool deals. For instance, The Gap is offering 10,000 free pairs of jeans for the first 10,000 check-ins nationwide and 40% off all regular priced merchandise for check-ins thereafter. Given the growth of Facebook’s mobile application, making it now the number one mobile application platform, I anticipate seeing a large increase in the amount of adult users who use social check in features (currently only 4%) due to these new incentives. I look forward to the increased use and further innovations down the road.
Facebook is not the only player leveraging this idea. Recently there have been some interesting Smartphone applications that have been changing the mobile-commerce and social check-in game. Shopkick is a new application that intuitively grants rewards to customers just for walking into the store – no check-in necessary! Just by walking into a store your phone is sent a promotion and various other incentives. This is a great way to reward customers for coming to your business with no more effort than pulling out your phone.
Another fun application is called SCVNGR. This application allows users to create and participate in scavenger hunts around the local area. By checking-in to specified locations and completed the designated challenges users can acquire points. It is a fun way to connect and interact with friends in new innovative ways. I look forward to taking advantage of Facebook Deals and the many other social commerce applications that are const antly developing. These tools are completely reshaping the web and how business is done. As a business owner are you interested in using digital coupons? As a consumer will Facebook Deals encourage you to use Facebook Places and other social check-in features more frequently? Where will this take applications and services like Foursquare, Groupon, and Shopkick?
Want to get started using Facebook Deals? Check out this great article from AllFacebook.com on how to set up your own Facebook Deals. With incentives tied to check ins, will you start using Facebook Places now on your mobile phones? Do you think Facebook Deals will take off? Let us know your thoughts and where would you like to see applications like this go from here.