Foursquare: The New Mobile Shopper Promotional Tool Of Choice

Who doesn’t love a bargain these days? For those shopping on a budget, Ann Taylor has recently changed what it means to earn a discount by launching a Foursquare campaign for customers within the New York City area. Shoppers who check into one of eight stores in New York will receive 15% off, while holding a mayorship will get you a whopping 25% off. New York is currently designated a trial for the promotion, of which the company hopes to expand nationwide across all Ann Taylor stores.

While the idea of using FourSquare for a shopper promotion still feels somewhat novel, Ann Taylor is not the first retailer to use this type of promotion to drive sales and store traffic. Other retailers that have tested a similar campaign include Jimmy Choo, Sephora, Diesel and Cynthia Rowley, and Oscar de la Renta.

That said, are we reaching a tipping point for mobile promotions? Considering the growth of digital savvy consumers within the marketplace (Nielsen estimates for 2011 see SmartPhones representing over 50% of mobile market), the trend of these mobile promotions will continue to grow as consumers demand more interactive and quick discount options.

And not only will these promotions drive consumer engagement between the digital savvy and retailers, they more than likely will increase redemption rates by eliminating the “clipping” of traditional coupons. Retailers brave enough to test these promotions may reap the benefits of gaining brand ambassadors, and in turn, a more loyal consumer base.

However, looking toward the longer term begs the questions, “How can we take these promotion beyond discounts?” “Are we simply training a new generation of shoppers to always wait for discounts?” And, “Can we use this technology to create stronger 1:1 relationships which have benefits beyond pure monetary value?”

Contributed by Kelly Moriarty