Radio Shack CMO Lee Applbaum made a revelation last week that helps explain why national retail chains are warming to Foursquare.
"Foursquare users at Radio Shack generally spend three-and-a-half times more compared to what non-Foursquare users [spend]," Applbaum said, while speaking at the Ad Age Digital conference.
Today, his Fort Worth, TX-based brand was scheduled to end a month-long Foursquare initiative. But Adrian Parker, Radio Shack's social media director, told ClickZ on Friday that his team has decided to extend the campaign through June after seeing strong redemption rates and promising revenue. Most of the brand's 5,000-plus stores are participating on the location-based service, which recently eclipsed eight million users.
When asked about Applbaum's statement, Parker said Foursquare users tend to purchase items like wireless devices that have a higher price point.
"They are more tech-savvy, they're younger, and they have higher disposable income," he explained. "Those consumers typically stay connected and are obviously a great target for mobile devices. We've sold more than 72 million cell phones in the last 10 years. It only makes sense that we use those devices that we sell as a medium to communicate to consumers."
According to Foursquarebrands.com stats, Radio Shack ranks third among retailers with 27,400 Foursquare followers while trailing Starbucks (41,400) and Walgreens (38,200).
Foursquare users don't have to follow Radio Shack to be alerted of its special offers. If one of the brand's locations is the closest available merchant deal on the platform, they'll see a "Special Nearby" icon in the upper right-hand corner of their phone screen. When they click, offer details and the store's location take over the screen. The same scenario would play out for any brand pushing a campaign via Foursquare.
Merchants Platform Becomes More Chain-Friendly
Last month, Foursquare released its 3.0 app that introduced the ability for brands to run different special offers across various locations. Companies can also now use an analytics dashboard to see aggregate campaign data, such as the redemption rate alluded to by Parker.
On the new app, there are seven types of "specials" that retailers can use. Radio Shack's campaign entails a "Check-in Special" and a "Newbie Special." For the latter, users who have never before checked into a Radio Shack get 20 percent off qualifying purchases for doing so. Non-newbies can get 10 percent off, while "mayors" get 20 percent.
Radio Shack also ran discount offers on Foursquare during the holidays and last August, Parker said. "We learned that it's a way to not only get incremental feet in the door," he said. "It's also an outreach mechanism to influencers."
And Radio Shack isn't the only retail chain that's cottoned to the upgrades. Walgreens, Whole Foods, H&M, and Chili's Grill & Bar have all recently launched nationwide campaigns. In one interesting example, some Barnes & Noble locations have set up Foursquare-branded in-store displays that showcase the eligible product for its $2 off check-in special.
Speaking with ClickZ, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley explained how his two-year-old company's relationship with the national retail chain sector is evolving.
"There's always been a lot of interest there," Crowley said. "A lot of the tools we ended up building came from their feedback. So with the new platform, it's taking a lot of the tools that we built for the Radio Shacks, the Starbucks, and the Gaps and making them also available to smaller merchants. So a guy who owns three cafes in San Francisco can also start using these tools. The product is just a lot slicker."
Parker from Radio Shack cited the growing retail competition on Foursquare as an additional reason why his brand decided to prolong its current campaign. "We really wanted to carry our momentum over without having to re-implement the program," he said. "It's becoming a valuable part of our retail strategy."
Radio Shack Also Tests Google's New Check-In Platform
Retailers often test geo-social campaigns on multiple platforms, including Foursquare, Scvngr, Whrrl, Gowalla, Loopt - and now Google. Radio Shack is a launch partner for Google's Latitude Check-in Offers platform, which was rolled out as a national feature on Friday. Macy's, Quiznos, Finish Line, and Arby's have also signed on to orchestrate deals via the search giant. Google debuted the platform last month with a set of 60 local merchants in Austin, TX, during South by Southwest Interactive.
While Foursquare users aspire to become mayors, Google offers tiers of checking in. In the case of Radio Shack, a "SHACKaholic" (top tier) gets 20 percent off a purchase, a "SHACKspert" (middle tier) can achieve a 15 percent discount, and the "SHACKreational" (entry tier) saves 10 percent.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.