Location Based Services:
The Check In is Dead. There I said it. End of story. Nobody check’s in on Gowalla, Foursquare, or Places. They just don’t. The value proposition is not there yet. No matter what anyone or Mashable says.
Great example. This Cheese Cake Factory on Long Island always has an hour plus wait. You are looking at hundreds of customers per day every day. I estimate 150,000-200,000 customers per year. And they have 46 Check-ins?
Let’s visit Foursquare:
The Colonie Center is one of two regional Malls. It has Macy’s, LL Bean, Barnes and Noble, Sears, Cheese Cake Factory, a Movie Theater w/ IMAX. On one average day this mall easily has as many people as the total check-ins for Foursquare. The Cheese Cake Factory is always packed just like the one on Long Island. If the 1348 check ins was just for one year nevermind the 2+ I am sure it was listed then they get less than 5 Check-ins per day out of the 400-500+ people they serve every day.
I recently was at an Tri-City Valley Cats game which is the Class A Houston Astro’s minor league farm club. They have a gorgeous stadium. Seats 4500 people and has standing room to allow 7000. I have been there twice. Both times seating was sold out. Both times less than 20 people checked in on both Foursquare and Gowalla Combined.
Initially it was a novelty. Well as we all can say we have observed Check-in’s uploaded to Twitter are down dramatically. I have always felt for LBS to work Brands/Businesses need to have a platform that allows me to come to the store (or just outside), Check-in via 3G not satellite and have a discussion on why I should come in. Send the circular to my phone. If I can have a unique identifier that connects me with past sales history for a customized special deal. But just to say I am here? Not happening.
Obviously if we knew about a deal that required a Check-in we would check in. Why are brands not offering deals? Because they don’t have too! Business is just fine without them. And what would have to be offered to get us to pick one place over another? A bribe that is probably bigger than what the business wants to offer. If Foursquare or Gowalla or Facebook really wanted this technology to take off they should be the ones offering loyalty programs that connect my visits and what I buy to some reward. This way it isn’t a one off give away and makes me earn a good reward that gets me excited.
It was nice getting free Chips and Salsa at Chili’s back when they ran that special for checking in on Foursquare. But really Chips and Salsa? Something I can get free at a Mexican Restaurant?
The point is, read the news. The news says almost 50% of people now have some sort of Smart Phone. So why is no one checking in? Would you tell a client they must be using these technologies? When they aren’t working yet? Observe reality, Then decide whether what is being shoveled your way is the truth, a fib, or just some stinky cow poopy.