November 30, 2010

Check-in Madness

Green Check Mark

So I claimed all my business’s local listings — in  Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, MerchantCircle, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.

As a result, I see that many of my customers are checking in when they come to my establishment.

The zaniness that follows those on the endless pursuit of Foursquare badges (I still don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to unlock the “Douche Bag” badge) seems to have merged with the daily deal/flash sale phenomena.

And now all these vendors want me to take one or more of three actions:

  • Post deals to attract “newbies.” (I was told I couldn’t use the term “virgin.”)
  • Reward frequent “checker-inners.’” (Is that even a word?  Why the hell did WordPress spell checker accept it?)
  • Lavish seminal riches upon the “king” (or “mayor” given we ridded ourselves of monarchy some time ago), i.e., the person who checks in the most frequently.

With so many players in the space, I pondered what to do.  I love that a small, local business can be relevant virtually, socially connected, and allow others to promote us to their friends, fans and followers on our behalf.

But . . . how many deals can a small, local business actually handle in the marketplace?  And what about our poor front-line servers/staff?  Many of them don’t “check-in” themselves, as they would rather interact with our customers face-to-face. Plus they don’t really want to interact with their cell phones and have to sort out a multitude of redemption codes.

Send me your thoughts and hopefully I’ll be able to develop (and post) a new, more effective strategy for dealing with this problem!

[Quick update June, 2012: Amazing how waiting can provide clarity.  MerchantCircle and Gowalla have both been bought.  And we have much clarity around the types of customers that align with our business target as well as those who do not.  We are narrowing in on focusing our efforts our Facebook and Foursquare.  What's your latest experience with check-in services?  Please comment.]

Comments

5 Responses to “Check-in Madness”
  1. Dina says:

    I agree with Check-in madness. Do we really need to know where our friends are at every moment of the day? And when is too much technology enough? I think Foursquare is past the “too much”.

  2. admin says:

    I waver between wanting to immerse myself in the latest new thing; using technology selectively to meet a very specific goal; to wanting to drop off the gri altogether. Have to admit when the geo-location social services first came out, I asked the very same questions. As a business, however, we do get some social lift as customers check-in and share their whereabouts.

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  2. [...] to share details of their purchases with their social networks (on Facebook and Twitter).  Just as businesses get exposure when customers “check-in” on Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, Yelp and the like, now a business potentially gets a mention when customers are spending money at their [...]

  3. [...] So what’s next?  How about a contrarian approach . . . back to the future?  Given we have customers who come to see us at a physical location, why not give them something they can review at their leisure when there are on premise (aside from a Foursquare | Gowalla | Yelp | Facebook check-in offer)? [...]



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