Facebook has finally launched its Check In Deals feature in Australia, attracting the likes of KFC and Westfield, but the company insists the service is not off limits to small businesses.
Check In Deals allows users to check into a brand’s Facebook Places page on their mobile device while they are nearby to “unlock” special deals and discounts.
The program launched in the United States in November last year, and has been operating in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom since January.
In Australia, brands including the Commonwealth Bank, 7-Eleven, KFC and Westfield have already signed up for the newly-launched feature.
Businesses will be able to offer four different types of deals to users: individual offers or discounts, group offers for up to eight people, loyalty offers and charity offers.
The Commonwealth Bank is using the Check In Deals platform to give away a year’s worth of free movie tickets to anyone who opens an Everyday Account with the bank after “checking in”.
Meanwhile, convenience store chain 7-Eleven is offering up a bottle of Coke for $1. Fast food chain KFC and Westfield are also offering launch deals.
Paul Borrud, head of Facebook for Australia and New Zealand, says Facebook is excited about the feature, which is a “natural extension of what our product does”.
According to Borrud, the launch of Check In Deals in the local market – following on from other markets – can work to Australian companies’ advantage, with data, case studies and insights available from the earlier launches.
James Griffin, of social media intelligence firm SR7, says the initiative is a good example of how the retail industry can embrace new technology and stop the slide in profits from people buying online.
“The Facebook Check In Deals connects online activity with real-world purchasing decisions. If done correctly, these deals will entice shoppers to visit shops,” he says.
“It illustrates the ability of social media to help turn the tide against online shopping.”
Facebook has warned businesses that deals must be compelling in order to be approved, suggesting it won’t accept low-value deals.
“Appealing deals… typically offer a 10%-50% discount or a gift-with-purchase that is of equal or greater value than the customer purchase amount,” the company said in a statement.
“Use short, simple language to explain your deal. Be sure to mention any restrictions and include a clear call-to-action as well as a deal time limit.”
“The less time people need to spend understanding your offer, the more time they can spend going into your business and making a purchase.”
As with group-buying deals, businesses are encouraged to prepare for Check In Deals before they run, which includes communicating with employees. Businesses should also avoid running deals for too long.
“Deals that run too long may become irrelevant and may be viewed as readily available discounts that don’t drive people’s intent to purchase,” the company said.
“In addition, pay attention to the number of deals that you run. Running too many deals at the same time may be confusing for your employees and customers.”