There has been years of hype over location-based social networks, however so far that’s all it has been: hype. Now Foursquare, Facebook, and others have rolled out deals platforms which enable businesses to incentivize consumers to shop based on offers. The one thing that I keep thinking though, is that coupons never incentivized me to shop somewhere.
I’m not the average consumer though. According to a Coupon Trends Report the industry is $35 billion, something that any entrepreneur would surely like to get a piece of. One has to wonder though: are smartphone touting consumers the same ones who are clipping out coupons? Do coupons drive the behavior of this user base?
I’d assume that these companies have done some sort of research to come to the conclusion that deals are a strong motivator for users of their products, right? Right now the greatest problem with most of the check-in products and the integration of offers is that users must physically check-in and say where they are. Only at that point are they presented with the various offers around them.
However no point during the trip between their point of origin and their destination did they get alerts about deals that were in the area. Perhaps this is what Google latitude is looking to solve with their always-on, battery draining, system. While consumers are likely to accept offers, all I can tell from the existing location systems (including Facebook’s) is that we still have yet to reach the holy grail of location monetization.
In the meantime, get ready to seek out those precious coupons as you navigate around the world. Just remember to refresh your location every few minutes to see if there are any compelling deals around you (sarcasm). Would you be likely to visit a business because you can get a few dollars off on a purchase?