Foursquare Eyes Retail Chains with Merchant API

Foursquare has retail chains and agencies on its mind more than ever, as it announced a new merchant API today aimed at their interests. In a blog post, the location-based app company briefly described the upgrades to its Merchant API, which will now allow businesses to utilize their own technologies while creating Specials on the platform.

The blog reads: “It works like any API – you can build the tools that are right for you. So, for instance, without having to log on to foursquare.com, you can go to your existing business dashboard and edit your Specials.”

While the details are scant, the New York-based company said local directory sites Yext, Patch, CityGrid, and YP.com – as well as pay-per-click software firm Clickable – are “integrating” Foursquare into their tool kits. As one possible example, it’s plausible that the directories will allow local merchants to create Foursquare Specials on their businesses pages.

Meanwhile, Foursquare seems to still be missing a bigger monetization strategy as it evolves into a serious marketing platform. Yesterday, it began syndicating deals from LivingSocial, Gilt City, AT&T Interactive, BuyWithMe, and Zozi. Foursquare users – there are around 10 million now – will be targeted by their check-in histories, time of day, and current location. The effort is running in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The share of sales revenue Foursquare will get from the aggregated deals – if any – hasn’t been revealed. While the geo-social firm last month landed $50 million in funding, during the next several months, industry pundits will no doubt be watching for how it will attempt to create revenue streams.