Most reasons cite the lack of innovation from marketing companies and businesses using these services, saying there aren’t any real incentives to check into locations just to receive bland rewards.
Although Facebook has entered the fray with Facebook Places, there’s still a lot of confusion about the benefits of location based services for both users and businesses trying to attract these users.
This has led to the apathy that’s starting to hang around the likes of Foursquare, Gowalla and more.
It’s this apathy and feeling of blandness that CheckPoints is trying to shake up with their approach.
Shopping Rewards and Points Systems
Built by a family-owned enterprise in Venice, California, CheckPoints tries to counter the boring Mayor rewards that many businesses use on Foursquare, and offer more relevant rewards based on the user’s preferences.
The way CheckPoints works is simple:
- Download the CheckPoints app.
- Go shopping at your favourite mall.
- Use CheckPoints to see if there are any promotions in the area.
- Use your phone to scan the barcode of a product.
- Scanning gives you points, which you can redeem for gift certificates, electronics, air miles and more.
Companies taking part in the CheckPoints rewards program include Amazon, GameStop, iTunes, Nieman Marcus, Bose, Louis Vuitton and more.
You can also redeem your points for good, with KIVA, AID Haiti, Research Breast Cancer and other non-profit organizations benefiting from your shopping and scanning habits.
Building the Loyalty Mindset
It’s this approach that puts CheckPoints a little bit ahead of the game when comparing it to the likes of Foursquare, Gowalla and other similar services.
By offering you the choice on where you redeem the points you’ve accrued, and on what, CheckPoints is taking the same approach as loyalty card programs. This is one of the biggest (yet underused) markets for many businesses – after all, who doesn’t want loyal customers?
Additionally, tying in the non-profit angle is genius. People want to give and help; it’s in our nature. The problem is, we don’t always do so because we’re not sure how to. CheckPoints makes it easy to support charity while doing what we normally do, so it’s a win-win all round.
So CheckPoints seems the natural progression for location based services, right? Yes and no.
What Benefit to the Retailers?
I had a look around the CheckPoints site, and I couldn’t see anything that said you need to make a purchase to get points added to your account.
So where’s the benefit for the retailer? Yes, they’re getting extra foot traffic through their doors. But if I don’t need to buy anything, and just scan a product for my points to be added, then what does the retailer get out of it? There’s no sale, so no profit.
Additionally, the service is only available in the U.S. at the minute, so users in Canada, Germany and the U.K miss out (these are countries where those types of services have the most uptake). And then there’s Japan, where location based services are huge – so a big market being missed (for now).
Also, I’d like CheckPoints to recognize my scanning habits, and react accordingly – just show me relevant offers as opposed to all offers (something we’re working on at Bonsai with a couple of apps that are in beta at the minute). Making it relevant makes it useful – otherwise it’s just another mobile app.
CheckPoints definitely has a lot going for it, and I really like the way you choose your rewards, as opposed to being told you get a free coffee for being Mayor of Beanville.
If they can address the profit benefit to retailers, as well as really amp up the relevance – and grab that global audience – then it might just be the next logical step for location based services.
And for many mobile location users, that can’t come soon enough…
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