3 Reasons Why Dealerships Should Use Foursquare

(Originally published in July 2010 while writing for Xspond.)

Foursquare is a Geo-location phone application that allows users to “Check-in” wherever they are at using their mobile device. This allows the business to see who is coming and going, and it allows the user’s friends to see where they are. Which is in essence letting everyone know where their friends shop, getting your business an automated word-of-mouth.

I know what you’re thinking, “How can Foursquare be of benefit to my dealership when people only buy cars once every three years?” Here are some quick reasons and ways that Foursquare can help you.

Promoting Customer Loyalty

Mayorship awards. By rewarding the person who is at your dealership the most it will create a game among local patrons to win that coveted role. To do this they would come to your showroom to check out the new cars, come to your service department for oil changes and other maintenance, and come to your parts department to pick up anything they need. If they are the mayor you would provide them with a very special deal that no one else can get. This deal you give them should be a discount on your services, so that when they visit you, they get an incentive to keep coming back.

Offer a frequency based deal. For every x number of visits the user gets a discount. This could be a perfect set up for a car dealership service department. If it is recommended to rotate their tires every third oil change and you can cater to their exact needs by giving it to them for free every third visit, that will encourage them to get their oil changed with you to ensure they earn that free tire rotation. They have to get their oil changed anyway, they might as well earn another service for free while they do it.

Notifying People in the Immediate Vicinity of Current Specials

Offers Near By. Setting up offers to automatically alert people who are in the vicinity allows you to capitalize on your locality in a major way. Anyone who check in to Foursquare while sitting at the coffee shop next door can get an alert offering them a coupon for an oil change. The application will use the user’s GPS location to offer them any deals that are currently in the area. This can be a valuable tool for someone who may need a reminder that their oil needs changing. They are right next door or right across the street, they might as well swing in.

Finding Out the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of your Visitors

When you set up your dealership on Foursquare you get immediate access to real time stats about your visitors. Similar to the way Google Analytics helps you know more about your Website visitors, it gives you invaluable information about your physical visitors. Here is what you can learn and how it can help you:

  • By knowing the most recent visitors who have checked in to your dealership you can find out if your employees did a good job getting contact information. This could be a great checks and balances tools for Customer Service.
  • Knowing the most frequent visitor will allow you to create a welcoming community for this frequent guest. By doing this you can find out why they frequent you so much. If they are browsing your used car lot for a specific car they cannot find, maybe you can help them find it elsewhere. If they are constantly in your service shop, you can offer them a courtesy ride to wherever they would like to go, along with a discount on the services they are using so often.
  • What would you do if you could tell the number of unique visitors each day, and find out who they are? Would you be interested in tracking the return rate of these unique visitors? Would you be interested in finding out if you have a huge group of returning customers and very few new customers? This information would prove to be invaluable in how you market yourself. If you have tons of return customers and not a ton of new, then you would certainly adjust your advertising efforts accordingly.
  • One of my favorite bits of information that Foursquare can provide is the time of day people check-in. What if you find that people are frequenting your lot after hours? Or better yet, what if they are not frequenting your lot during open hours? This can help you adjust your employee schedule to help you minimize expenses during typically slow periods of the day.
  • For a long time we’ve been able to track customer demographics through sales made, contacts made, and web customer tracking, but what if you knew the demographics of those who visit your lot but do not share their contact information? This would certainly allow you to customize your on-site efforts to cater to the specific people that are coming to your lot. Maybe you find that young mothers are on your lot a lot more than anyone else? Would you do anything different to make the experience better for them? Would you put your best family cars out front?

If you want to know more about what Foursquare actually is, please check out their website. And please keep in mind that this is just a tool, one of many, and should be used in coordination with all of your marketing efforts.

What Foursquare offers have been successful for you?

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