Mobile Marketing Strategies – Why Mobile Check-in’s Fail
Mobile Marketer questioned in a post yesterday the future existence of independent mobile check-in apps such as Foursquare. They noted that both Gowalla and Loopt were acquired and subsequently shut down. Even Facebook is struggling with what to do. With all of the hype that surrounded these companies and concepts a year ago, why did they fail?
I see two primary reasons:
- The majority of consumers will not expend the effort required to check-in (i.e. perform a not-very-consumerish-action) without promise of an exceptional reward.
The last thing a merchant should want me doing after walking into the store is digging out my phone, loading an app and checking-in. They got me all the way to the store and in the door, now I want to see some cool and interesting merchandise! Foursquare is still experimenting with the ties between rewards and actions, but because of the above reason I think they’re on a trail to nowhere.
- When it comes to interaction with merchants, consumers want to be connected – not gamified.
Consumers are much more interested in being handed a reward rather than having to jump through a hoop (or hoops) to receive it. That’s a pretty basic observation, but unless there is more than novelty involved, how long can the check-in craze be expected to last? Receiving a virtual badge for your efforts is the very definition of novelty. Surprise! It’s wearing off.
The lesson for merchants is straight forward – use mobile to connect with your customers and reward them for allowing you the privilege of that direct connection. To be sure, there’s certainly value in knowing when your customers come in the door, but for now I believe the best way is the old fashioned one – greet them at the door. Customer service still works better than magic.
John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.