Starting today, frequent Starbucks visitors who check in at retail locations using Foursquare will earn customer rewards. Although there's no financial incentive or free coffee to begin with, customers can unlock the "Barista badge" after five checkins.
Of course that's just the beginning; the coffee behemoth plans to use Foursquare as a testing ground for alternative reward strategies and to unlock "the pulse of the experience" for each store.
If you think this is a straight-up play to offer location-based mobile coupons, think again. The New York Times Bits Blog writes that the company is "hoping to use Foursquare to provide even more meaningful prizes, like invitations to special events, photo-sharing or online reputation scores."
As Starbucks figures out how best to leverage the checkin, we have to step back and appreciate the magnitude of this decision. With Starbucks on board, there's no question that Foursquare has all the tools necessary to appeal to and reach a mainstream audience. Plus, now that a second company (the first was Tasti D-Lite) is tapping into Foursquare as a loyalty program platform, the additional proof of concept will pave the way for other businesses to follow suit.
[img credit: Bits blog]
Tags: foursquare, MARKETING, starbucks
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