Foursquare and the art of customer retention

Still on the fence as to whether your business brand or merchant service should set up a new Foursquare business page?
Then consider these facts and figures compiled by Inc Magazine that may help you make a decision:

  • 91% of all U.S. businesses do nothing to retain customers
  • 68% of long-term customers stop buying because they no longer feel appreciated
  • The average American business loses 50% of its customer base every 5 years
  • An existing customer spends an average of 67% more than new customers
  • Only 12% of revenue is spent on customer retention

Foursquare, a free location-based service, allows you to tackle these weaknesses and improve customer retention.
According to Inc Magazine, Foursquare had 381,576,300 individual user check-ins, 6 million users and a 3400% growth in 2010.
In recent months, it has emulated Facebook with the launch of a business page that can be tweaked towards either a brand or a merchant. In fact, you do not even need to have a physical location in order to use Foursquare.
The basic premise behind Foursquare is the concept of a customer check-in via his Smartphone  at a certain location.  This is shared with followers or friends who usually have qualms about highlighting their movements or location-based activity.  Merchants and brands are then able to stream in location-specific specials as well as producing niche contest apps or other incentives to generate additional followers.
If your business operates from a specific location (or several) you can claim your place in Foursquare via their business section. It’s then fairly easy to create a special or other incentive-based item.
If you are simply a brand not directly linked to a location, then a new business page will suffice which allows you to generate a ‘save to Foursquare’ button for your website.
“When one of your visitors clicks the ‘Save to foursquare’ button on your pages, it adds the contents to their To-Do List in foursquare. Then, when they’re out and about, foursquare Radar will buzz on their phone when they’re close to it,” said Foursquare.
Besides the follow me button, which is now standard on most social networks, Foursquare also offers digital partner badges, that reflect real-world achievements worth shouting out to the world.  These, however, do come at a price determined by their quality control team.
“Foursquare Partner Badges are achievements or rewards that a person receives after they follow a foursquare Brand Page and check in to a number of locations.
Here is a random example of a Coffee Shop in Cape Town, South Africa that offers a free regular sized coffee after you have checked in 10 times. It’s known as loyalty special and is an example of the power of Foursquare.  At the time of writing it appears that roughly 100 people had checked in 10 times.  In addition to customer retention it also demonstrates how statistics collected through Foursquare can help you tweak your business offerings.
Foursquare also some case studies available, including this one relating to Radio Shack, which confirmed that Foursquare users spent 350% more than the average Radio Shack customer.