Last summer Google made SMBs owners very happy by releasing a new business dashboard for sites that claimed their Google Business Listing. The addition put actionable data and stats directly into SMB owners’ hands so they could learn about the folks visiting their site and act on the information provided. Well, now it’s FourSquare’s turn to grown up. Yesterday everyone’s favorite location-based social network revealed new plans to provide SMBs owners a free dashboard and analytics tool to give them important stats about the people who check-in and visit their establishment. It’s FourSquare 2.0.
According to the New York Times, the analytics features have been available in alpha for a small number of businesses for a week now. The selected businesses are able to see, in real time, who has checked in to their businesses (on a daily, weekly, 30/60/90-day or all-time basis), when they arrived, the male-to-female ratio, what times are most active for certain customers, and they get the ability to offer instant promotions. FourSquare will also offer a Staff page so that employees can interact directly with customers using the site. It makes things significantly more interactive for business owners, which may increase a Twitter-esque adoption.
Early shots of the dashboard look like this:
And that’s just the beginning.
According to FourSquare’s Tristan Walker, the social site plans to up the information they’ll be providing. Things slated to be added include correlations between check-ins and weather to help merchants offer better rainy day incentives and the ability to tie purchase information to check-ins.
What FourSquare is really doing is taking everything up a notch. Over the past year, SMB owners have learned to use Twitter as a medium to reach out and connect with customers. We’ve used it to have real conversations, to find people talking about our brands and to encourage them to come visit our store or Web site. However, with the new analytics from FourSquare, we actually have an ability to track users and tie them to specific actions. It’s a much more interesting conversation when you can identify a former “regular”, and look at their behavior to see they haven’t been in the store for weeks. Knowing this means you can use the Staff pages to then interact with that specific customer and give them an incentive to come back in. It’s as much about retaining customers as it is attracting them with new deals.
And whether you’re a FourSquare user or not, yesterday’s announcement is something you should be aware of because it signals that location wars are very much upon us.
On the heels of FourSquare’s launch Twitter announced it will be turning on geolocation for tweets and Facebook will also allow users to share their location. With everyone going in the same direction, it’s probably a sign you should be paying attention. We understand social media, now what can you do to make it more locally-focused and to connect with your current customers. FourSquare is giving SMB owners a great way to look into the habits and actions of people who frequent them, and so are many of the other social networking sites. The more data you can use, the smarter decisions you can make. Start figuring out how you can use it.