The trend of ‘checking in’ at business locations via social media sites is a marketing opportunity that is being wasted by bricks-and-mortar enterprises in New Zealand, according to one industry commentator.
Checking in is a social media trend whereby smartphone users enable their devices to keep track of the places they have visited using in-built GPS technology. The user can then interact with other people who have been at the same location, connect with friends who may be nearby, and post positive or negative comments about the business.
Luigi Cappel, sales & marketing manager for GeoSmart, says businesses that aren’t keeping up with the trend are missing out on the opportunity to capitalise on positive feedback, and rectify negative feedback.
"Anything that has a destination can benefit,” Cappel says.
"The problem with retail and hospitality is that owners tend to follow set formulas, and don’t look for new ways of doing things.”
Cappel says while the ICT and marketing industries are embracing the check-in trend, business owners themselves either don’t know about it or are intimidated by it.
"It’s frustrating because we know the benefits are there, it’s so easy to do, and it’s free.”
Conversely, many retailers are jumping on board with ‘daily deal’ sites, which Cappel says can be useful for new businesses but may be detrimental for established enterprises.
"They’re doing a brilliant job of getting attention for new companies but they’re not necessarily a vehicle for retailers to make more money.”
Cappel has started keeping a blog about the check-in trend, and plans to post more entries giving advice on how to make the most of the opportunities.
"I’m going to marketing events but I’m finding I’m preaching to the choir. The challenge is how to get the message across to the people who need to hear it.”