Last Wednesday, social media giant Facebook launched a new feature for mobile users. Deals take Facebook Places one step further by allowing businesses to offer special promotions for marketing purposes.
Places allows users to “check-in” at locations which shows the user’s friends where they are in an effort to help people connect. Businesses can now use Deals by working with this function and offering something special to mobile Facebook users who “check-in”, then walk into a store, show their mobile phone to a cashier and walk out with a reward.
Gap is the first company to implement Deals; they ran a promotion to give away a free pair of jeans to the first 10,000 people who checked in at locations across the U.S. Reports are coming back with mixed reviews on whether or not Gap’s first attempt at using Deals was a success. While one report states that the promotion was a hit at locations in various cities, individual comments beg to differ. Individual comments posted on one website detailed consumer anger over the promotion.
The overall theme of the comments stressed that the promotion was unorganized, uninformed staff were of little help, and individual stores carried out the Deal in their own way without following corporate guidelines. It seems that some people are unaware that this program is still in a beta stage, and that Gap is paving the way for other businesses to reward consumers. H&M, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Macy’s are just a few of the big name brands that are already signed on to apply Deals within Facebook. It will be interesting to see how other corporate giants handle Deals, and what they will offer.
Many marketers believe that smaller, local businesses stand to gain the most from the new offer. It’s hard for a local or small chain burger joint to ever think of tapping into the McDonald’s burger market, but with Deals, now they don’t have to. By simply setting up a business Facebook page, promoting it and offering specials, they can have the customer interaction that will draw in the consumers that matter most to them: locals. The best part is that Facebook Deals is FREE!
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently reported, “Currently there are 200 million people using Facebook through its mobile application, a threefold increase since last year.”
As Facebook mobile users utilize Deals and Places and check-in to different businesses, this action will show up in the news feed on an individual’s homepage. When friends of the user sign-in to Facebook, the news feed will show (for example): Fred just checked into McDonald’s and received a free milkshake using Deals.
It may spark interest in different individuals, creating a desire to be able to take advantage of that promotion too. This in turn drives more consumers to a business that may have never thought about visiting that day.
Q: Can any mobile phone user with internet access view Facebook Deals?
A: Deals is currently only being offered through the iPhone application.
Q: Do I have to be present to receive my special offer?
A: Yes, this helps prevent fraud within the offer.
Q: Who sets up the Deal, the company or Facebook?
A: It is up to the discretion of the individual company to create, set up and manage the deal without the input of Facebook.
It probably wasn’t a coincidence that Facebook Deals launched right before the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Time will tell whether the new feature allows businesses to offer consumers Deals or duds.