Max Gladwell

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Digital Loyalty Cards for Any Business: Checkin to PlacePop

October 7th, 2010 by Max Gladwell · 2 Comments

If people can engage with locations through their smartphone devices, why not turn this activity into a seamless, loyalty-rewards program for businesses of all sizes?

Originally posted on the MomentFeed Location Blog.

PlacePop is as simple and straightforward as location-based apps come. The company has built a virtual loyalty card that is available for iPhone and Android devices. This turnkey solution is primarily designed for small and mid-sized businesses that want to move away from the plastic cards while offering something more interactive, valuable, and, let’s face it, cool for end users.

The above presentation does an excellent job of illustrating the value proposition for merchants and consumers, as well as showing the very simple setup process. Consumers use the app and merchants use a web interface/application to track and manage their program. Dead simple.

One of the key differentiators for PlacePop versus Foursquare and other socially driven apps is that the primary feature is a “Solo Checkin.” If you’ve read the MomentFeed whitepaper, From Hype to Holy Grail, it describes a Solo Checkin as one that isn’t automatically broadcast or shared with anyone but the app maker and (possibly) the place to which one is checking in. Unlike a “Social Checkin,” where one is using the location as a reference point, the primary objective of this type of engagement is the location itself. The big advantage here is privacy. As such, it has more mainstream appeal because sharing one’s whereabouts isn’t the objective or purpose of the app. But it is an option.

The value of a Solo Checkin can be magnified when a user chooses to broadcast it to their social graph via Facebook and/or Twitter, thus making it social. This is a PlacePop feature, and it can be measured through the web-based dashboard. The company is also integrating with Facebook Places.

In terms of scale, PlacePop isn’t attempting to build a large audience on its own like Foursquare and Gowalla. The application is primarily a business tool, so it’s incumbent on businesses to activate their existing and potential customers through other means. Why would a business want to do this? Aside from the value of loyalty cards in general, we argue it’s because LBS is a superior channel to most others. So if a business is communicating with its customers via email, Twitter, Facebook, and so many analog channels, encouraging them to engage via LBS apps like PlacePop enables more immediate and relevant engagement and, thus, greater returns.

That said, PlacePop also offers a Facebook App designed for Facebook Places that enables one to see what places are trending among their friends, track statistics about their own checkins, and see a real-time feed of where their friends are. This appears to be a way PlacePop can attract a user base from which to kick-start its mobile offering. After all, if you’re using Facebook Places, you’re an ideal candidate for PlacePop. Plus, it should be noted that businesses don’t have to offer the PlacePop solution in order for you to check-in using the PlacePop app. You can build a checkin history with a business prior to it activating the app, which could trigger automatic rewards on day one for previous loyalty.

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Tags: Geolocation · Marketing