Starbucks & Other Big Brands Reward Their Customers On Foursquare

by Liz Sklar Gone are the days where you had to remember to get your loyalty card punched every time you visited your favorite restaurant. Many of these restaurant loyalty programs encouraged patrons to buy X number of items and get one free. Most of the time, however, people would lose these cards, leave them in another wallet, or forget to present them to the cashier all together. Now, instead of having to carry around a piece of paper, customers can simply carry around their cell phone, something they’re likely to have with them most, if not all of the time anyway.

Foursquare is the newest application that allows users to check-in to a location on their cell phone. Smartphone users can download an app that allows them to check-in whereas anyone else with a cell phone can send a text message with their location (ex. “@ Joe’s Bar watching the game!”). After checking in, users can share where they are with friends on foursquare or sync their account with Twitter/Facebook to alert their followers/friends where they are. Users can also earn points, unlock badges, and become the mayor of frequented locations.

Although people who use foursquare find it valuable to share where they are with friends and find out where their friends are, there is an added value to frequently using foursquare. Recently, foursquare has partnered with Starbucks, Tasti D-Lite, and Pepsi, as well as many other local venues to offer rewards to frequent customers. Here’s how different companies are using foursquare as a loyalty program:

Starbucks Starbucks notably added badges such as a “Barista” badge for those who check in to Starbucks often. The company plans to use foursquare to offer invitations to special events and photo sharing. Frequent foursquare users are likely to see “Special Nearby” notifications for Starbucks. Starbucks is using the current special to offer $1 off a Frappuccino to the mayor of a Starbucks location.

Ben & Jerry’s

Similarly, Ben & Jerry’s is another brand utilizing foursquare specials. The company however  is offering a special offer for anyone who checks in to a Ben & Jerry’s location – three scoops for $3 and if you’re the mayor of the location, you get the added perk of a 4th scoop on the house.

Tasti D-Lite The popular frozen dessert chain is offering a loyalty program called TastiRewards that incentivizes customers to link their foursquare, Twitter, and Tasti D-Lite reward card accounts. By linking these three accounts, customers get additional points. Customers receive one point for every social media check in as well as one point for every dollar spent. Every 50 points gets you a free medium cup or cone of ice cream.

Local Businesses Local businesses are benefiting from using foursquare as well. Popular bars in New York and California are offering free drinks to the mayors of the establishments on foursquare. A popular bar/performance space in San Francisco is not only offering free drinks to the mayor but also $2 off a ticket to anyone who shows proof that they checked in to that location on foursquare.

All of these promotions are meant to encourage users to come to the location and check in on their phones. The idea of receiving a badge, mayorship of a location, or a reward is very alluring to social media users and helps to create a positive brand perception for the company. In the future, as foursquare becomes more popular, businesses of all sorts will follow the lead of Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s and Tasti D-Lite to integrate loyalty programs with foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Have you reaped the rewards of a foursquare promotion or loyalty program yet? Share your experience and thoughts on foursquare promotions with us!