Foursquare had a big year in 2010. The company experienced 3400% growth in “check-ins” with a total of 381,576,305, and there was at least one “check-in” in every country in the world, including North Korea. We even saw the first “check-in” from space at the International Space Station on October 22, 2010.
Foursquare published an infographic summarizing their accomplishments and a few fun facts from 2010.
From a strategic communications perspective, the tremendous growth of Foursquare means that the collision of online social media and the offline physical world has truly become mainstream. For many consumers, there is no more “offline” world; even when we are nowhere near a computer, our phones give us access to the “online” world, and technologies like Foursquare provide meaningful ways to integrate the two.
Leading brands like Starbucks are finding simple, but creative ways to use “check-ins” to boost sales. For example, Starbucks gives discounts to customers who “check-in” frequently.
This meeting of the online and offline world represents a huge opportunity because it brings people to a physical location – a huge first step towards making a sale. This could also give brick-and-mortar stores a tool in the battle against the growing world of e-commerce.
I expect 2011 to bring increased integration between physical locations and the online world, and as communications professionals; we’ll all be looking for ways to capitalize on this growing trend. One thing is for sure – discounts and giveaways will continue to encourage foot-traffic.