Foursquare specials are notoriously hard to redeem, due to the fact they’re so different from the way most retail employees have been taught to handle coupons. Without a good bit of training on behalf of the retailer, there’s a good chance you’ll be met with a blank stare when you show the employee your phone.
One thing they do understand, though, are barcodes. Just about every coupon has one, and now, thanks to a new partnership between Walgreens and foursquare, your phone will, too.
Walgreens offer today for a 50-cent can of AriZona Iced Tea features a barcode, with a message below it reading “to redeem, show retailer this code on your phone.” It runs through March 10.
I redeemed the Walgreens special earlier this afternoon and the experience was flawless (despite the incredulous cashier). After a brief “processing” message, the discount appeared and I was on my way.
“Once this idea became a real concept, our social and Emerging Media team made sure the experience was simple, safe and secure,” wrote Adam Kmiec, head of social media for Walgreens, in a blog post. “All we needed at that point was the right partner and thatâ€™s whereÂ ArizonaÂ came in. They moved as quick as we were and as quick as foursquare was. And in retail, thatâ€™sÂ VERYÂ fast. Â Kudos to the Arizona team for being able to move that quickly and investing in an idea that had never been done before.”
The foursquare managers panel does not list this as an option, but it’s possible foursquare will launch these to other businesses later this week as part of their updates for SXSW. It could even be offered as a premium option. We’ve reached out to foursquare for comment, but have yet to hear back.
Barcoded specials open foursquare up to a much wider range of large retailers, who will be able to offer coupons that work easily with their existing POS systems and require little to no retraining of their staff. The number of true foursquare specials was previously limited, even for retailers like Walgreens, due in large part to the training and POS hassles of the old foursquare system.
What do you think of the barcodes? Will they make special redemption easier and more businesses likely to use them?