How RadioShack Connects With Foursquare Users

Several merchants with bricks and mortar locations have turned to location-based apps like Foursquare to help build a mobile following. But old-school electronics merchant RadioShack may have cracked the Foursquare code last fall.

Speaking at Realtime NY in New York on June 6, RadioShack director of social media Adrian Parker said he and his team treat Foursquare like it’s a part of the whole marketing program, and not as a separate animal.

That means Foursquare is a part of the marketing mix, and is mentioned within other marketing campaigns and media. So the Foursquare logo is displayed on print pieces and a part of in-store.

“Why have Foursquare if you’re not going to let people know you have it?” Parker said.

RadioShack also cracked a second Foursquare code, which is to offer a customer compelling offer at the right time. And that’s another reason it’s getting its followers to check in.

When someone checks into a RadioShack location for the first time, he receives a 10% discount. The Foursquare user then shows his reward to a salesperson, and the discount is applied at the register.

Based on analytics, Parker said the initial check-in purchase of new wireless devices is “significantly high.” Since many customers historically won’t return for two years, when the wireless contract expires, RadioShack pumps out another offer within two weeks of the first purchase. The retailer has seen Foursquare users take advantage with a wireless accessories purchase.

Why is Foursquare important to RadioShack? One reason is it gets consumers to re-discover RadioShack stores. The other is monetary: Parker said shoppers who check in via Foursquare spend 3.5 times more than those customers who do not use Foursquare.

What’s more, it’s easy to track purchases made with a Foursquare offer. Parker said he’s able to tie the Foursquare analytics in with other management tools, and can trace back every Foursquare purchase back to what the item was, where it was purchased and how much the discount was for.

Siobhan Quinn, a product manager for Foursquare, said she felt RadioShack has been successful with the location-based network because it’s been able to target the right offer at the right time.

Quinn said RadioShack’s “Holiday Heroes” promotion was particularly successful: If a follower clicked in at two separate places such as gyms, coffee shops and train stations during the holiday shopping season, they could go to their RadioShack of choice and unlock the Holiday Heroes badge, which was good for a 20% off discount.

To put that into perspective, the 20% discount is one that is reserved for “mayors,” who are the people who prove to be the most-loyal customers at any given location. During the holiday promotion, mayors only received a 15% discount.

But what about the execution of Foursquare at the register? Some consumers are not comfortable handing their phones to a clerk, and sometimes store clerks are not aware that a certain promotion is taking place.

Quinn said some merchants and brands are rolling Foursquare into its loyalty programs, and integrating Foursquare into the path to purchase.

Grocery store Safeway did a promotion this spring with Pepsi. If a consumer checked in at a Safeway, he received a coupon for Pepsi products. When he scanned his loyalty card at the register, the discount was applied automatically.

American Express ran a similar one, in which a user got $5 back when he checked in at a store and used his card there. Foursquare did not get access to the credit card numbers.