Black Friday = Check-in Friday

Black Friday deals showcased several retailers partnering with check-in services (e.g., Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places) to drive in-store traffic by offering exclusive deals to shoppers who checked-in:

  • Toys R Us offered a 15% discount for purchases over $150 to the first 3,000 shoppers who checked-in on Facebook Places, Foursquare, and Yelp;
  • RadioShack offered a number of discounts for checking in on Foursquare –shoppers received 10% off when checking in, 15% if they’re the mayor and 20% for unlocking the “Holiday Hero” Badge;
  • Shoppers who checked in at The Gap received 30% off any item;
  • 0:00 /1:34Plotting your Black Friday strategySports Authority randomly selected 20 users who checked-in to Foursquare and posted their check-in to Twitter between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm EST to receive a $500 dollar gift card;
  • Shoppers who checked in at H&M on one of the mobile apps received 20% off purchases;
  • And JCPenney offered $10 dollars off purchases of $50 dollars or more to checked-in shoppers

Retailers also promoted cause-related programs by making charitable donations based on customer check-ins using Facebook Places at their stores.

  • Old Navy pledged 100 minutes of free phone calls for overseas troops to call home once 5,000 people checked-in to the retailer;
  • North Face donated a dollar to the National Park Foundation for every check-in;
  • And, REI pledged to donate up to $100,000 to various non-profits supporting local conservation efforts based on the number of shopper check-ins.

The social and digital media site Mashable published an article detailing which retailers received the most check-ins based on initial data from retailers, Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla. Target and Walmart were the frontrunners of the Black Friday check-ins.


Now that major retailers like Walmart, Apple and Best Buy are throwing their support behind these social location-based services people are beginning to take notice. Twitter is currently testing the ability to share your location when you tweet and new apps such as Shopkick and stickybits are making waves in
the news, this market seems poised for growth. The services offer customers the chance to receivediscounts and gift cards as well as earn points and badges associated with the services. Users also have the ability to see which friends have checked-in or visited a particular store. Retailers are able to entice new customers into their stores through special discounts and offers that can be more contextually relevant than typical coupon offers based on where and when customers checks-in. Retailers also benefit when users share their location with their friends encouraging them to visit the same store.

– Contributed by Brian Hambrick

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