How FourSquare can encourage local shopping
I am trying to get everyone turned on to FourSquare.com, and here’s why: It can help the local economy. FourSquare is an application you put on your laptop, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad or other portable device. It allows you to “check in” at the various businesses you visit during the day.
Say you go to Pastry Art. Once you get there, using your FourSquare application, you “check in.” Checking in does several things. First, it lets your friends know where you’re hanging out so they can come join you. Second, it lets that venue or business know how many folks are checking into their establishment. (There is also a way to check in at a venue in stealth mode – for those with something to hide.)
Checking in also gets you points and badges. For instance, if you are the person who checks in most at a certain business, you become the “Mayor” of that establishment. Along with a certain sense of pride, this can have great implications for businesses. (You knew I’d get around to how this could benefit businesses, didn’t you?) If you know that folks are using FourSquare to check in at your business, you can offer specials to whoever is the current Mayor. (Do you see where I’m going?)
Folks can then compete to be the Mayor by visiting more often. By viewing your venue on the site, you can see who’s been there, who’s there now and what they’re saying about your business. You could offer FourSquare specials to all who check in between certain hours (your slow hours). It has huge implications for encouraging folks to get out of their chair and come into your brick and mortar building.
I would recommend visiting FourSquare to find out how your business can benefit.
Find your venue. If it’s not there, you can add it. Click the “Are you the manager of this business?” link near the top. Then advertise to your customers that you want them to check in using FourSquare.
If we want to keep our communities compact and robust, this is one cool way to start doing it.
Also, if you’re passionate about the 3/50 Project, FourSquare can help you keep track of the places you’ve visited each month. According to their website, for every $100 spent at locally-owned independent businesses, around $68 of it stays in the area. When shopping at national chains only $43 of it stays local. The rest goes to some nameless, faceless person living who-knows-where.