I’ve been passionate about location based services for ages. In my humble –but very wise :-)- opinion, the various possibilities for location based offerings are endless. True, location will only pay-off and be widely accepted when it will be closely linked to the psychographic and econo-graphic profile of the user. And the user needs to be in full control of the level and focus of the LBS information coming through his shields… But we’re not there yet.
After GPS in car and navigation on mobile devices, the first steps of true location based applications are surfacing fast. Twitter, Facebook and other networks scatter to embed location in their offering. Gowalla and Foursquare constructed their complete business model around it. Most users still look a bit hesitant at these services. Checking into places is a nice gimmick, but what does it really bring? And how quick do people tire of collecting mayorships and badges? Pay-offs will have to be found to keep as well consumers as businesses and brands in the game.
The tracks are now being laid in front of the fast moving train. Starbucks, the coffee phenomenon, already rewarded frequent customers with a collectors Barista badge on Foursquare. It now jumps a hell of a step further by offering a stunning 1 dollar discount to people holding a Starbucks mayorship on Foursquare.
Getting a full $1 off a $4 Frappuccino is a baffling discount. For the first time, loyal customers get a tangible pay-off for their location based social media advocacy of their favorite brand.
Collecting badges, adding new places, posting reviews and sharing tips just jumped from mouth-to-mouth sharing in a game-esk set-up to a possible lucrative business with a direct ROI for participants. The rules of the game have fundamentally changed. Did any-one notice?