Every checkin counts. That's why Foursquare is making bucks out of it.

The premier location-based platform which pioneered the checkin approach to entice and convert mobile users into instant customers has announced new changes that will enhance the face of location marketing and eCommerce.

Recommendation Engines

Foursquare's new version aims to leverage accumulated checkins and transform it into recommendations. Users will see the value of every checkin in the new Explore tab. Previously occupied by the Tips tab, the Explore tab will allow users to query for recommendations from restaurants to nightlife, as well as online stores who have physical spots which Foursquare users rank as most interesting and useful for other users. Sounds familiar? Well, this approach is what made Amazon and Netflix a success.

 

The approach is called collaborative filtering, a simple yet practical marketing strategy that most social media platforms are embracing already. CEO Dennis Crowley explains that recommendations are similar to Amazon or Netflix recommendations, but made for the real world. He compares the recommendation engine to a recycling center that makes old data new again. “We’re recycling data; so [the engine] spits back things that are tailored to what you’re doing.”

 

The recommendation engine will be fueled by factors such as places you’ve checked in, frequency of checkins, places friends go, places friends go that you haven’t been to, places you’ve been with friends, time of day and day of the week. The new version will also maximize the use of points. The new points system will now have 30 different triggers to get points, and the leaderboard will be more focused on friends.

Redefining eCommerce through Location Marketing

Foursquare users were being fed by offers by local merchants. With the new Merchant feature in tow, the deals will be aggregated to enable a Foursquare user to find relevant deals. The Foursquare Merchant Platform which is a turnkey solution for vendors will now include a gender breakdown of checkins, a breakdown by time of day and other data that the company hadn’t shared before.

There'll be seven kinds of functions for vendors to use, namely: Check-in Specials, Friend Specials, Flash Specials (e.g. the first 10 people to show up after 5 p.m. get a free drink), Swarm Specials, Newbie Specials, Mayor Specials and Loyalty Specials. Vendors should download Version 3.0 already because it supports the new special types. The new version also allows application users to browse all nearby specials in the Places tab.

As for other location marketing news, blasting deals on via mobile will pave bigger things for users and vendors. ShopAlert was launched last month by AT&T, which is a service that sends users mobile offers from Hewlett-Packard, JetBlue and Kmart when the user is near a location where such products or services or sold. ShopAlert is initially available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.