Tag Archives: Retail

How to use Foursquare for Business 101

I put this together for my boss to help him understand how Foursquare can be used to promote local business objectives.

What is it?

Foursquare is a social media platform that allows users to tell their friends where they are geographically. Their location is announced by telling the name of a business or point of interest such as ‘Starbucks’ or ‘Balboa Park’. 

How does it work?

When a user visits Starbucks, they are able to pull up the corresponding Foursquare mobile application and ‘Check In’. When they do that it is announced to their foursquare friends where they are similar to a Facebook status update. Users are able to identify in real time who is currently at any given location and can use it as a medium to find and meet up with their friends. These ‘Check Ins’ can also be pushed to a variety of other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and dramatically expand the reach of these updates.

How to use it to promote a local business?

1. ‘Check Ins’ are Advertisements

 ‘Check Ins’ become advertisements to all of their friends and keeps your business top of mind. This dramatically increases when they’re posted to Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes good deals offered to Foursquare customers can incentivize telling their friends like this. Other times having a brand or business that would add to someone’s image is enough. For example, I might check into a fine dining restaurant and want to show off to all my friends that I’m eating there.

2. ‘Check Ins’ Bring Their Friends

‘Check Ins’ incentivize their friends to join them at that location. For example, if I check into a coffee shop and my friends that are a few blocks away notice and end up visiting the coffee shop to see me when they would have not done that otherwise.

3. Steal Customers

Deals found by being in a surrounding area can cause people to stop by your business when they otherwise would not have. This can drive foot traffic. For example, if I visit the mall and check into the mall itself, but then notice that Macy’s is offering a special deal* if I check in there. I might stop by Macy’s now to take advantage of that when I had never intended to visit there on my visit. If so, Macy’s may have just stolen my business from the store I actually went to the mall to go to. This can be really powerful because it is targeting people in a very close geographical range to your store and likely looking to spend money. It is a very effective and cheap way to increase foot traffic.

4. Increase Traffic

There can be competition in the Foursquare community over becoming the ‘Mayor’ or the most frequent user to ‘Check In’ and businesses can take advantage of that. Users often turn becoming and staying the ‘Mayor’ into a game that causes them to go out of their way at times to ‘Check In’ at a venue. This increases their personal social credibility stats but this is fueled even more when businesses offer a special deal only for the Mayor. For example, Hot dog on a stick offers a  free lemonade* only to the mayor. Now customers will visit your business to try to get the deal.

5. Another Traffic Frequency Boost

Another, less exclusive way to offer an incentive is to give it to any customer who visits your business after a certain number of check ins. For example, a restaurant in downtown San Diego called ‘Currant’ offers a glass of Sangria or well cocktail for only $0.10 (ten cents) on your 3rd Check in. This is a way to reward and incentivize frequent customers and thus capitalize on the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule that states most businesses will get 80% of their business from 20% of their customers. This feature helps keep that 20% happy and coming back for more.

Let me know if you see the plausibility of using Foursquare as a business or a customer. Also let me know if you don’t and why.

*These deals were current as of the publication of this article.


Facebook Fans Vs. Twitter Followers:

Facebook Fans Vs. Twitter Followers: Which Are More Valuable? http://ow.ly/3DBzC

Flix on Stix Offers Movie Downloads to Flash Drives

Flix on Stix Offers Movie Downloads to Flash Drives

Movies were once only available at theaters, at least until rental stores came along. Then Netflix popped up and offered movies-by-mail, sending flicks directly to the customer’s home with no late fees. Next, kiosks began appearing with ability to rent movies 24 hours a day in various locations.
Now, Flix on Stix lets consumers plug in a portable flash drive and download a movie, making it viewable on any number of devices.

Read the full article: “CES: Flix on Stix moves movies from kiosk to USB”
(CNET.com, Jan. 6, 2011; NACS.org)

Students Turn Page on E-Mail Communication

Students Turn Page on E-Mail Communication

Students are moving away from e-mail communication and are more inclined to send text or instant messages. As this migration continues, look for campuses to also pull away from e-mail accounts. With Facebook, Twitter, texting, and instant messaging constantly evolving, there really is no way to predict the most common form of communication in the next five years.

Read full article: “How Will Students Communicate?”
(Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 6, 2011; NACS.org)


Mobile Shoppers Have Leverage Mobile shoppers, those savvy consumers who use handheld devices such as smartphones and other gadgets to search for deals while standing inside a store, are in a better position to bargain with retailers for a lower … Continue reading

Assign a Social Network Manager

Every retail store should have at least a Facebook and/or Twitter presence today. Making the most of that social network, however, is key to the success of the effort.

As a business, be sure to assign someone from the store to be the manager of your social network presence. This article provides a step-by-step process in choosing the right person for the job. If several people will be contributing to the social network, assign someone to filter the information and take ownership of the overall effort.

See full article: “How to Select a Facebook Community Manager”

(SocialMedia Examiner, Dec. 23, 2010; NACS.org)

Let Facebook Sell Excess Inventory

Can’t figure out how to rid your store of that seemingly unsellable stock? The company featured in this story allowed customers visiting its Facebook page to vote on merchandise from a collection about to be discontinued, with the promise most popular item would be priced at a discount.

The winning product sold out quickly at the discounted rate. This is just one more example of how stores can use social networks to better their business.

See full article: “Clothing Retailer’s Secret Weapon: The Facebook ‘Like’ Button”
(Fast Company, Dec. 28, 2010; NACS.org)

Manufacturers Go Direct to Customer

A growing number of companies are taking the direct-to-consumer approach. Fossil, Dickies, Columbia, The North Face, and Timberland are selling their wares online directly to customers, in addition to their store channels.

See full article: “More consumer manufacturers selling online, competing with retailers”
(Star-Telegram, Dec. 28, 2010; NACS.org)

J.C. Penney Catalog on Facebook

JCPenney Co. put its entire product catalog on Facebook. If you can see it in the store, it can also be seen on the company’s Facebook page.
Small and large retailers alike have dabbled in social network marketing, but none have taken it to this level. The more people become comfortable purchasing online, the more profits will be had through social networks. What are you doing to tap into this channel?
See full article: “J.C. Penney Moves Entire Product Catalog to Facebook”
(practical ecommerce, Dec. 16, 2010; NACS.org)

E-Commerce, Online Sales, Kindle, Social Networks Quick Updates

MASTERCARD REPORTED THAT E-COMMERCE sales increased 13.5% this holiday compared with last year. The report was based on retail sales from all payment forms, including credit and debit cards, cash, and checks. Percentages of e-commerce spending increased by double-digits since the second week of November, outshining growth in tradition retail sales.
Overall, shoppers spent more money this year than even before the recession. Spending rose 5.5% leading up to Christmas, exceeding forecasts. Increases were witnessed in almost every retail category, with apparel leading the way, boasting an 11.2% increase. Jewelry was up 8.4%, and luxury goods increased 6.7%.

EVEN MORE EVIDENCE SHOWS shoppers stepped up online, gift card, and non-physical store spending, according to Forrester Research. Although customers are spending more in bricks-and-mortar stores, the increased comfort with spending money online appears to have taken hold. Estimated online spending is up 16% to $52 billion, according to Forrester.

MANY RETAILERS DROPPED RESTOCKING fees and return deadlines. Consumer fraud forced many stores to install stringent return policies, which the National Retail Federation estimated to total $3.7 billion this holiday season. The fraud includes returning stolen merchandise, using counterfeit receipts and returning used items. In an effort to build customer relations, retailers dropped these fees for the 2010 holiday season.

THE KINDLE THIRD GENERATION has become the best-selling item in Amazon.com history, surpassing previous all-time top seller, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Kindle’s low $139 price is a key factor. Consumers can afford a dedicated reader in addition to other devices with e-reading capabilities.

SOCIAL NETWORKS are spreading. Social network use increased for all ages from 2008 to 2010, according to Pew Research. Use for people 18 to 33 increased from 67% to 83%. Those 45 and older more than doubled social network use, and 16% of adults 74 and older now communicate this way.