Saturday, April 16, 2011

Geolocation Based Incentives – What to award for “checking-in”?

I have noticed a lot of blogs and social media posts discussing what is a good incentive for customers “checking in” on Geolocation Services. All of the different Geolocation services (Facebook Places, Gowalla, FourSquare, Google Latitude, Twitter Places, Whrrl and others) have built in awards and badges, however, this has no value to the majority of mobile users.

The main reason I see for using Geolocation services is to connect and attract mobile/smart phone users. Mobile phone use is growing in every area of the internet. For mobile users – the value of geolocation is not clear. A study on consumer geolocation adoption shows that only 6% of people familiar with these apps feel that the benefit to most people is “discounts,” and only 8% believe that the benefit to them personally would be “savings in discounts and merchant rewards.”
So what is the value in geolocation services to these mobile users? The study also states that the most important benefit people will experience is “social connection”. This is why you should have an integrated marketing strategy for geolocation and social media.

At this point – businesses are not offering “value” to those customers that “check in”. There are some issues that precede reward value that must be considered. An issue to consider is security – many mobile users feel it is not safe to share with ‘everyone’ where they are all the time.  This is a valid concern and we will address this issue in another blog post.
To date, the majority of businesses have failed to provide value to mobile users for using geolocation services. Depending upon what business you are in, you need to determine what is of value to your customers and what is of value to you as a business owner. It must be a win-win situation and you should not be giving away the store.

It is obvious in the studies and all the articles recently that a discount is not enough for the mobile users to perceive value in geolocation services. To just give away product is not good business. Then what kind of offers can you make that will benefit both parties?

Group check-in is a great way to reward 3 or more individuals checking in together. Giving something to a group is more cost effective and a bigger bang for your buck than giving away to individuals.
Number of check-ins in a specific time frame with return value. For example – customer must check in 4 times in two weeks to win a t-shirt. Then every time they check-in and make a purchase with the t-shirt on they get a discount or some other small item for free.

Number of check-ins at one event or during a certain period of time at your business. If the number is reached – everyone that checked-in gets a free ______ (you fill in the blank).
These are just a few ways for consumers to receive value along with the businesses not giving away the store. Remember - your geolocation reward program should be integrated in all your marketing initiatives.

Do you have any other ideas for value geolocation service awards?

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