Foursquare was created to motivate people to discover interesting things around them. As the platform has evolved, we’ve started to experiment with many different ways to encourage users to explore, from surfacing great tips that come from the friends you trust to rewarding users who frequent the gym or commute via public transit. Thousands of merchants, too, are actively claiming their venues in the system and providing additional incentives on the platform in the form of Special offers and Mayor Offers. Some of these are sole proprietors such as the Mermaid Inn in our hometown of New York City, while others are nationwide initiatives from the likes of Starbucks, Sports Authority, Ben & Jerrys, and Whole Foods.
We continue to be inspired and excited as we observe merchants leveraging the platform to engender customer loyalty, drive foot traffic and boost customer acquisition.
+ Starbucks: Starbucks offered $1 off any size Frappuccino® for its mayors. Since running their Mayor Special on foursquare, Starbucks (already the most checked in retailer on the platform prior to running the Special) has seen a 50% increase in Check-Ins at its locations. Also, not only are our users excited about the competition the mayor deal creates but they’re also welcoming the opportunity to try new products!
+ our friends at Monique’s Chocolates in Palo Alto have acquired over 50 new customers and saw well over 100 redemptions as a result of running a Special Offer over the past seven weeks:
The owner of Monique’s, Mark, also told us that he is running the same Special in his local newspaper (cost of ad = $300!) and has acquired only one customer with one redemption from that print ad. He adds that for those who redeem the Special via foursquare “more than 25% return regularly to get something, to Check in, to see who the mayor is…the gaming part of foursquare really does resonante with people and we’re excited about it!”
+ AJ Bombers, a local burger spot in Milwaukee has seen a 30% increase in menu item purchases from running both a Special (free cookie if you add a tip!) and mayor offer (free burger!)
Joe, the owner, has leveraged foursquare in other innovative ways to drive foot traffic - he was the first to hold “Swarm Badge" and "I’m on a boat" parties for customers!
We LOVE stories like these. We’re deeply motivated to build the best tools to help our merchants use foursquare to get their customers excited about frequenting their venues, while offering sweet deals for our users.
We are taking what we’ve learned so far from these early experiments and introducing a few changes today to make the experience better for users and merchants.
Loyalty offer variability (“Specials Nearby”):
Starting today, users will no longer see the same loyalty offer (Special offer or Mayor offer) over and over but rather see some variability by seeing rotating offers in the “Special Nearby” tab.
The “reach” for Special Offers:
The current location range for offers “nearby” is approximately 200 yards, but will, in the future, be variable based on the user’s location. In more densely populated areas, 200 yards will provide adequate variability. In areas outside of cities, we’re going to increase that range to provide better results for users in less densely populated areas.
Participation from employees:
Thousands of merchants are running Specials on the platform and the majority of Specials in the system are frequency-based (i.e. “every 5th Checkin Special gets you a free appetizer!”). There are also merchants, like Sports Authority, who are running mayor deals. In the past, we’ve not allowed users identified in our system as employees or managers of venues (see staff tool below) to be eligible for mayorships or participate in Foursquare mayor offers.
This restriction remains true, but we are going to make the process of designating employees as staff on foursquare venues much clearer to merchants. We can’t expect all merchants to require employees to mark themselves as such but we can do better (and we will!) as it relates to communicating to our merchants about the benefits of doing so.
User experience is paramount to anything that happens within the Foursquare universe. These early experiments are helping us make a better product and ensure that future offers are as easy to redeem as ever. While the ultimate responsibility rests with the merchant, we want to make sure they have the tools and documentation necessary to teach everyone involved about our programs. As technology advances and Point of Sale systems get smarter, this responsibility can move from humans to barcode scans, loyalty card integrations and other means, thus reducing the potential friction.
As always, we thank you all for the feedback! We will continue to work to build the best product possible for our users and merchants and we welcome the feedback as we continue to iterate the platform based on these early experiments.
— foursquare biz dev team —