With one million business owners who have claimed their listings on Foursquare, the location-based social network has found a new way for merchants to reach out to their most loyal customers. Foursquare has started rolling out Local Updates: a digital version of the classic sidewalk chalkboard.
With the new feature, businesses will be able to see which of their regular customers (determined by the number of likes and check-ins) are in the area. They can then send an offer or announcement just for them. (Mashable learned that the definition of “in the area” varies by city, and is determined by Foursquare’s interpretation of its GPS data.) The tool also works for businesses with multiple locations.
The updates appear in the customers’ friends tab and also turn up in searches. “It’s an easy way to keep up with news from places you frequent,” Foursquare explained to customers in a blog post, “including things like new specials, pictures of the latest shipment of shoes, or a serendipitous food truck appearance.” This drink special from Northern Spy Food Co. looks especially helpful.
But users are free to opt out of the updates if they don’t want them. Current participants include restaurants, universities, and local libraries and parks.
The new feature follows Foursquare’s recent redesign of its mobile app to make it easier for people to explore new places and get recommendations, rather than just checking in.
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