Location-services - the new local map that your clients use

25.08.10

Foursquare
Formerly American businessmen used to say that there are 3 main things for business success: "location, location and ... location". To attract more customers to your store, restaurant, hotel or club you just needed to get a shop on a central street and make a shining banner. But perhaps soon the location and banner will be less important than your business position on the location-services, like Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, or the newcomer Facebook Places. These services, which combine geolocation, social networks and mobile devices - create a new virtual local map, based on customer recommendations. What are these location-services and how you can use them for your business?

Foursquare
The main idea of the Foursquare and similar services is the same - using a smartphone you can check-in (check your presence) in a particular place (usually the location is automatically defined by GPS) and add some comment / review (e.g. "Drinking great coffee here") or a picture. So using a location-service, you can see where are your friends now (and join them), or basing on friend's feedback select the best place to go nearby.

It's clear that business owners want as many people as possible to check-in their places, because it will attract even more customers. And they are willing to encourage visitors for each check-in.

Foursquare
With location-service business owner can create special offers. For example, a client, who checks-in for the first time - gets a free beer. And those who made most check-ins during the last 30 days - gets a free lunch. Customers can see the available special offers on the location service virtual map, and of course, this also affects the place where they go.

In addition, location-services created another business opportunity - showing location-based ads to customers. For example, if a person checks-in on the children playground, it is logical to show him ads of toy store, located nearby.

So when a customer wants, for example, to go have a lunch, he takes his smartphone, opens the location-service and sees:
- where his friends are (maybe they also having lunch somewhere?)
- what restaurants are located nearby
- the popularity of these restaurants basing on check-in number
- reviews and pictures of these restaurants
- special offers
- restaurant ads

Will he go to your place?