Amping up for SXSW Interactive 2011, the location networking service’s personal Mecca, Foursquare just keeps the announcements coming. Beyond a new partnership with American Express and plans for a Superuser meetup, users must be most excited for the launch of Foursquare 3.0; the brand new version, for both iPhone and Android devices, adds Yelp-like discovery tools, expanded game mechanics and support for broadened loyalty programs.
It wasn’t just users who saw a major Foursquare upgrade though.
The service’s merchant platform has been completely overhauled to give the 250,000 verified businesses on Foursquare more ways to hone their relationships with customers.
As part of the overhaul, merchants now have access to a new analytics dashboard for their venue, so they can see how successful their campaigns are. I say “campaigns” in the plural because Foursquare now lets merchants run multiple "Specials" for a single venue, which wasn’t possible before. This gives a lot more power to those quarter million merchants, since they can now compare and contrast statistics for various specials before, during and after they’ve run.
The screenshot at top is just a sneak peek into the new specials creation process. Those familiar with the old process will note that there have been new types of specials added, which I’ve listed here:
Flash Special: Awarded to the first people to arrive and check in at a certain time. Example: Barnes & Noble is taking $10 off the Nook Color for each of the first 10 customers to check in after 10 am.
Friends Special: Awarded to a group of friends that all check-in at the same place, same time. Example: H&M is giving 24 percent off one item to each Foursquare user that checks into the store with his or her three friends.
Swarm Special: Awarded to all the members of a swarm checked into a single venue. Example: If five people check into Applebee’s between 10 pm and midnight, all five get free mozzarella sticks.
Newbie Special: Awarded to user who checks into a venue for the very first time. Example: Radioshack is giving 20 percent off qualifying purchases for first-time check-ins.
Check-in, Frequency, and Loyalty Specials: These can run the gamut, but it will be something like “check in nine times and on your tenth check-in get a free ice cream.”
Mayor Special: Same old, same old. Become the mayor of a venue and earn whatever reward the business sets up for you.
It’s a much more fleshed out list of options for merchants and may help Foursquare continue its march to becoming a mainstream app in 2011.