American Express has teamed up with foursquare to offer its customers savings when they check in at different locations via foursquare. It’s simple, check-in with foursquare at participating merchants, pay with your AmEx card and get savings on your monthly statement!  You won’t have to worry about coupons or showing your phone to the cashier because the savings are automatically credited to your account!

This is great for Foursquare because they have about 15 million users and are still trying to find their place within the Social Media world.  They do have a loyal following that check into locations regularly and earn various points, which earn their users badges, and even the “Mayorship” title, for those that have checked-in to a venue on more days then anyone else.  Though, having to check-in and update one more social media service has hampered their adoption rate.

The AmEx deal offers a little more validity to the location-based social networking tools and we will start to see the other major players move to make deals that follow this framework. AmEx is offering discounts at Sports Authority (customers can get $20 back on purchases of $50), H&M ($10 back when customers spend $75), and various restaurants and expanding to more retailers large and small.  Location-based marketing offers a huge potential for all types of businesses to lure customers away from their competitors by offering deals that appear on a users smart phone as they come into close proximity.

This creates a win for consumers who receive a discount and a win for the retailers who gain credibility and exposure by the consumer’s status updates stating that they are in a particular store or restaurant.  Businesses can then go one step further and entice the customers to join their social community and then gain permission to continue sending them deals and get their feedback to turn them into loyal customers.

As with everything, businesses are going to have to figure out how far they can go before considered too much and they will also have to figure out how to ensure people don’t abuse the incentives!



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