Journeys has jumped into the location-based social networking arena by allowing its customers to check-in via their mobile phones and complete challenges in order to receive discounts on their next purchase from any Journeys store.It not as bad as it sounds. U.S.-based footwear retailer
But don't worry, early adopters, the company isn't launching their own branded application for this - they're teaming up with SCVNGR, the location-based gaming app, in order to offer these rewards.
Check In for Shoe Deals
SCVNGR, a slightly lesser-known entity among the current crop of location-based social networking applications which also includes apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Loopt, MyTown, Whrrl and seemingly dozens of other startups, each with their own angle.This partnership is notable for the fact that it's the first retailer partnership for
The idea with SCVNGR is that you don't just check in, virtually announcing your arrival at a given venue via your mobile app; you check in, then complete a challenge of some sort. These challenges could involve solving a riddle, scanning a QR code, taking a photo or some sort of other activity.
In Journey's case, challenges will include things like "pick the shoes you'd rock on your favorite skateboard, snap a pic and you've scored 5 points" and "give yourself an A+ in style by taking a photo of the accessory you want the most this upcoming school year, boom, another five points."
In case you can't tell, Journeys caters to a younger audience.
Why Did Journeys Pick SCVNGR?
That demographic, in fact, may be the reason why the retailer, which operates 850 stores across the U.S., chose SCVNGR instead of one of the more heavily used location-based apps. "Working with SCVNGR has been a great way to leverage the smartphone, important to our young and hip consumers, and a way to continue to engage them with our brand," Kari Irons, director of marketing for retailer operations at Genesco Inc., Journeys' parent company, told InternetRetailer.com in a recent interview.
Customers who complete the challenges and earn 20 points receive a $10-off discount on their next purchase.
To promote the deal, Journeys is using in-store signage and ads on TV, their website, via email and within their catalog.
Location-Based Apps All Want the Same Thing: Businesses' Involvement
SCVNGR advance their business model, which involves having businesses create and manage their own games and rewards using the app.The deal helps
Of course, isn't that everyone's game these days? Each location-based application, in the end, is attempting to leverage business and brand partnerships to make their app the more compelling choice. The end result though, is a far-too crowded playing field with different apps featuring different deals, discounts and tips. For consumers, this only leads to confusion.
And for early adopters who like to try everything new and shiny, there are actually complaints of "check-in fatigue," as ReadWriteWeb writer Audrey Watters noted earlier this month. (Believe us, if the early adopters can't keep up, you can bet that the mainstream user won't even bother!)
Let's not forget, either, that the analysts at Forrester Research recently warned marketers off the LBS (location-based services) market, saying "the potential for LBS doesn't match the hype." This advice was based on hard data which showed that only 4% of U.S. online adults ever used LBS apps, and only 1% used them more than once a week.
However, as GigaOm Pro analyst Dr. Phil Hendrix recently pointed out to us by way of comments, the Forrester researchers asked consumers: "To what extent are you familiar with geolocation applications like Foursquare and Gowalla that you can access on a mobile phone?" Dr. Hendrix says this wording is peculiar and narrow and leaves out other location-based apps like Yelp and Google Maps.
We would counter, though, that Forrester was doing this on purpose in order to determine consumer awareness of check-in apps in particular. Also, if either Foursquare or Gowalla had the brand clout of Facebook or Twitter, it wouldn't matter if Forrester used fancy terms like "geolocation;" consumers would still know what was being asked.
That said, geolocation apps have been the hot new ticket as of late. Mobile discounts app Shopkick just received $15 million in funding. Foursquare closed $20 million in a Series B round. Gowalla got $8.4 million in a Series B round in December. And so forth and so on.
LBS app users may be a small group for now, but they're highly engaged with business and brands, are educated (70% have a 4-year degree) and tend to be influential among friends and family. Are these the sorts of folks we want promoting businesses? Retailers, apparently, are nodding their heads YES.