FourSquare, the location-based check-in tool was always aimed toward businesses. The first step was to get users accustomed (or addicted) to checking in wherever they go and help them compete for points against each other by giving away emblems like Mayor badges. Now, FourSquare has made it easier for businesses to access all this rich data regarding their location.
With the new tool, businesses will be able to see a range of real-time data about Foursquare usage, including who has “checked in” to the place via Foursquare, when they arrived, the male-to-female customer ratio and which times of day are more active for certain customers. Business owners will also be able to offer instant promotions to try to engage new customers and keep current ones.
It was an obvious direction for FourSquare and I had wondered why hadn’t they implemented it sooner. This move might in fact be useful for both consumers and businesses as the latter will try to attract and keep their loyal base happy. One more advantage I see at least in another screenshot is that managers and staff are identified and listed separately. I have seen couple of my ‘friends’ check in every day (including school nights) at a bar at Northgate, College Station and have thought, wow! She definitely has a drinking problem. Until I realized, she probably works there. Of course, she is the frikkin Mayor of the bar with no chance of anyone else ousting her ever. Now unless, businesses or FourSquare matches consumers with their spending habits, they have no reason to worry about backlash. FourSquare users are willingly signing away their geo-location privacy and if they do it smartly, there is no discernible harm.
This feature is available only to 30 small businesses but FourSquare plans to expand it to more than 900 businesses soon. This might just be the social networking app that small businesses readily welcome.