Location and check-in app Foursquare continues to announce new features that merchants will find valuable. Foursquare can now be used to discover new places, explore a new city or plan ahead of visits.
Beyond simple check-ins and badges, Foursquare is positioning itself as a tool for businesses that want to connect with their customers. Several features have been released this month to make it easier to discover Foursquare merchants and encourage users to visit them. The location game app has partnered with OpenTable and broadened support of its merchant verification process to help on both these fronts. While Foursquare started as a simple check-in application, it has been working on developing more features to help businesses not only get more visibility, but also more foot traffic. The OpenTable integration is likely to significantly broaden how customers use the Foursquare app – as a planning tool as well as a location or discovery tool – which local businesses should benefit from.
From simple check-ins to reservations
Previously, users would use the Foursquare app when they arrived at a location, or possibly used the Explore tab to find somewhere nearby. Merchants could offer deals when users checked-in, and encourage return trips with cumulative discounts. Foursquare recently added restaurant menus, hours and fellow user’s tips to its app. With just one more click, they “Make a Reservation” to save a table. This option bridges the gap between the casual exploration and the concrete plan that can occur on such location apps - reservations are an accepted form of appointment, whereas a Foursquare to-do list is a vague suggestion. This feature, only available for users on their laptops, will be even more valuable to businesses once it gets also available on the mobile app.
Encouraging businesses to go SoLoMo
Foursquare’s most recent features have been focusing on making it simpler for merchants to use its tools and platform, and go SoLoMo. Vendors have been able to verify their business on Foursquare by mail for a while, but now can do so instantly online, for a $10 fee. Either method gives access to merchant tools - offering Specials, updating listing, getting stats about visitors. These tools are all meant to encourage businesses to list their business on Foursquare, and hopefully gain foot traffic. The recent Facebook integration also offers users the option to save a place straight to their Foursquare to-do list.