Mobile check-ins are like store visits. It’s one thing to get a customer to come into your store, but it’s another thing to get them to buy something. So many companies have been focused on check-ins but not necessarily on turning them into sales, until now. Sure there have been rewards or deals offered for checking in but they are not always consistent or related to sales. Some deals are for free things and some rewards are not even deals at all but badges. Increasingly, services are popping up to generate coupons each time customers check-in so businesses can increase customer loyalty and capture more sales. There are a few different ways to check-in and various ways to tie a check-in to a checkout. One such way involves a consumer internet company called Meebo http://nyti.ms/lrtcIz . Meebo allows users to check into websites in order to receive deals, and regular visitors will soon be able to receive VIP status. VIP status includes earning rewards from businesses and suggestions for content they might like. VIP visitors can also follow each other and receive feeds of websites that others are checking into. In this way it still pays homage to the badge origin of check-ins while tying in crucial deals that will create repeat customers. Another is an ad network called LocalResponse http://bit.ly/m6lfNv. LocalResponse combines check-ins from 30 of the most common sources, generating relevant deals in real-time to those who check-in either directly or indirectly through a publicly posted sentiment or mention of a location. Additionally, LocalResponse is also targeting people who publicly post about brands or products. Meeting customers where they are in real-time is key to driving sales. That is what makes this next one, which involves geolocation in a different way, an interesting venture. As if we have not seen everything yet, here is a new reinvention of the billboard. There’s been ones that smell, such as the one I wrote about in my entry Taco Bell and Olfactory Billboards, there’s been augmented reality billboards and even live Twitter billboards.
Now there are gaming billboards where you can play for rewards that are redeemable nearby, such as this McDonald’s one in Switzerland http://on.mash.to/lDkghb. Any player with a smartphone that is in range of the billboard can play the interactive billboard’s game, which just happens to be Pong. Interesting retro throwback there. Basically, a player types the URL into their smartphone browser and when it confirms that the player is in the area the game begins. Players control the billboard game by utilizing their smartphone’s touchscreen. What they see on the screen is being played out on the billboard and vice versa. The game gets harder and harder, but if the player can last for 30 seconds they receive a coupon redeemable at a nearby McDonald’s for the reward they selected at the start of the game. A coupon is sent to their smartphone and they can redeem it at the register. Imagine if this concept came to the US. All of these methods are creative and relevant ways to lead customers from check-in to checkout. However, I think they can take it a step further. I think that when a customer checks in their purchase history should be tied into the types of targeted deals they receive, kind of like the coupons you get at the grocery store checkout. I also think that a map of the store they are in should pop up and it should be an interactive map that takes them directly to the product in the coupon they receive. One thing I have learned in all my years of customer service is the more seamless and easy you make the sales process, the more likely the customer will purchase what you are suggesting. In other words, make it so easy and accessible that it is highly unlikely that they will turn your offer down. It is good to see a solid start to closing the gap between check-in and checkout, and it will be interesting to see the statistics from these methods. I hope that, just like anything else, they will use this as a jumping off point and continue to add to it. Maybe even in some of the ways I have suggested here. Regardless, this type of innovation is the inevitable next step in the check-in process and should produce some interesting results.