Foursquare & Gowalla – The Next Bonus Card?

Where ever you live or how ever you shop…you have been asked to sign-up for a bonus card or discount card. You know that little card that you can put in your wallet or on your key-chain. The one that is swiped each time you walk in that store and make purchase. You might be that person with all sorts of bonus cards from the local grocery store, hardware store, and even your local sporting goods store.

You were attracted to this card because of the immediate savings you will see when you check out. You can experience the “buy one, get one free” or even the “half off” special. Whatever the promotion, swiping the card earns you savings. Swiping the card provides the retailer a better understanding how to stock the store based on your demographics. It is a smart way to not only audit the “stock” but to audit buying tendencies of each consumer.

Is Foursquare and Gowalla the global bonus card system? Well, first off…let’s look at the incentives of this innovation:

  • Some retailers are offering promotions when checking or checking in multiple times.
  • Finding like minded individuals who have been to the same or similar location(s).
  • Reading reviews and/or experiences of other “consumers” at a particular location.
  • Ability to build a map or trip for group of individuals to enjoy.
  • Providing community based marketing for retailers and organizations.

How do you feel when you walk up and swiping that bonus card? Other than the great savings you are experiencing? Do you think about what tendencies are being saved when you swipe that bonus card then your debit/credit card. Now I am not preaching this whole conspiracy theory that the government is out to get us. But, what are retailers saving about us on the world wide grid. Are tendencies are being saved, each time we swipe the bonus card, the credit/debit card, when we do a keyword search in Google, and even when we Tweet. I have Google Alerts set-up with my name as the search keyword and look what was sent to me in my daily update, a link to this:

Yes…I have not seen this site before (Shopalize), tracking keywords in my Tweets. Where ever I go, what ever I say; in this digital world, someone is aggregating my information for marketing purposes.

As I was sitting here writing this post, a Verizon Commercial (above) played. The one thing that stood out in this commercial (as this lady walked through the town…chatting on her phone) the “world” around her was “tuned” to her position. Each turn of the corner…tuning to her Tweets, her “Check In’s”, her searches, her purchases. Her “Check-In’s” geo-located to aggregate all the relevant purchasing power this lady has during this little trek. She has walked this path before and the little towers tuned to her position are the collectors of the magic little bonus card in her palm…the mobile device.