As its first launch into an emerging market, Facebook Check-in Deals has signed three major brands in South Africa as its partners - Chevrolet, Cell C and Avis. This service enables users to claim special discounts or rewards by 'checking in' to particular stores or locations using their GPS-enabled smartphones. The launch partners have the exclusive right to carry its logo until November, when the doors will be thrown open to other businesses.
"South Africa is a natural market for this, it is a massive user of Facebook on its phones," says Adrian Hewlett of Habari Media, Facebook's local sales partner. "There are 4.25 million active users in South Africa, of whom 3.1 million access Facebook through their mobiles. Another 425 000 check in to various places weekly."
Hewlett says that unlike Facebook Deals, which has just closed after a four-month test only in the US, Check-in Deals concentrate on "connecting a company's Facebook presence with its real-world presence."
"It offers marketers a way to reward loyal customers and attract new ones, all by using the power of location-based services. The deals will only be visible to people in the immediate vicinity and only if they actively check in, so there is a high level of customer engagement."
He notes that this service has an advantage over group buying schemes in that business can decide on their own deals - there is no insistence on deep discounts - and on to whom and for how long to offer them. "Customers can also redeem deal coupons instantly, without waiting for a deal to close. It's very much personalised, one to one marketing, with a focus on building loyalty."
Four types of deals are available: individual deals for one-off promotions, loyalty deals that can be claimed after a certain number of check-ins, friend deals for groups and charity deals in which the business donates to a charity for each check-in.
This flexibility is one of the major attractors, says Avis digital channels manager Yoav Techelet. "It gives us the flexibility to offer more personalised and exclusive deals to our Facebook fans." The company will offer a range of personalised deals to customers when they check in to collect a reserved vehicle.
Chevrolet South Africa is the first to offer a charity deal, donating R1000 to the General Motors Child Life Foundation for every 100 check-ins to one of its dealerships. The company is also offering R13 000 off the purchase price of the Chevrolet Spark Lite L, while stocks last, to customers who check in to a dealership from 1 September 2011. "We love the idea of being able to reward existing owners by donating to charity on their behalf, as well as offering discounts to new and returning customers," says Peter Ririe, marketing operations manager for Chevrolet. "It's all part of maintaining good relationships with our customers over the long term."
Cell C is offering two Check-in Deals from 1 September to 30 November 2011 on 24-month Casual Chat 100 contracts, which include 100 off-peak minutes per month. These are exclusive to Facebook users who follow the check in and redemption process.
The first, at R129 per month, includes a Nokia C3 handset, a 7.2 Mbps USB speed stick and 2 GB of data per month for the 24 months. The second, for just R99 per month, includes a Nokia E5 handset, a 7.2 Mbps USB speed stick and 3 GB of once-off data valid for 365 days.
"It is another proud first for the company and we're excited about our partnership with Facebook," says Simon Camerer, executive head of marketing, Cell C. "We're now able to use mobile media to encourage face-to-face interactions in our stores, which goes towards building high-quality relationships."
"Any business with a Facebook page will be able to create its own deals quickly and easily through Habari Media," says Hewlett. "It's a great way to generate awareness, get feet in the door and build loyalty - and for the moment it's free. We're expecting to see rapid uptake especially in urban areas."
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.