Foursquare & the Influence of Others along the Way
The influence points around mobile commerce continue to expand.
Mobile commerce is not only about mobile payments, of course, but about the entire path to purchase throughout the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.
Foursquare’s announcement that it will send users recommendations automatically is yet another indication that some influence points can materialize at various parts of the path.
The idea is that Foursquare will send users who want it proactive recommendations based on the phone’s location.
It might be a suggestion for a restaurant nearby or a particular dish while at a restaurant. In either case, the suggestions are based on the personal experiences of others.
One way to look at this is the difference between location-based services and location-based marketing, a distinction I raised in my first book on mobile (The Third Screen).
With location-based marketing, a company interacts with the mobile consumer. With location-based services, consumers interact with each other.
Interestingly, the new Foursquare initiative starts to blur the line between the two.
The location-based recommendations are not based on the company’s marketing viewpoint, as in something they are trying to sell. Rather, they’re based on insights accumulated from billions of check-ins and many millions of comments from other users.
Another interesting aspect of this is the automated recommendations.
Some of the current automated pinging from apps when near a particular store, for example, can become annoying.
Part of the reason for this is that in this version of location-based marketing, a company is trying to push what it is wants to sell, not necessarily what the passerby is looking to buy. Some of these approaches lack relevance to the shopper.
With the new Foursquare approach, the recommendations also will be based on location but the insights will be aggregated from others who have personally experienced whatever is popping up on the screen at the moment.
That differentiator could become a new influence point along the mobile commerce road.