How to Track Nearby Shoppers with Foursquare - dummies

How to Track Nearby Shoppers with Foursquare

By Greg Holden

Consumers who routinely use mobile devices for shopping will check in with your online business routinely if you give them an incentive. The incentive takes the form of an offer that can benefit everyone; the more frequently you visit, the more benefits you get. Foursquare, the most popular of the venues that do location-based marketing, is a perfect marketing venue for businesses whose clientele use smartphones on a regular basis.

Foursquare works like this:

  1. People “check in” by telling Foursquare where they are. They might say they’re at a particular coffee shop, hotel, museum, or restaurant.

  2. Foursquare, in turn, tells those you have identified as your friends on the platform where you are, and recommends other places those friends might visit or things they can do nearby.

  3. You and your friends can meet up if you’re near one another.

  4. Most important, from the standpoint of the brick-and-mortar business owner, you and your friends learn about what your favorite locations are and new places you might like to discover.

To get started with Foursquare, set up an account on its business page. Click Learn More and then click Claim Your Business. Follow the steps on the Claim your business page.

Once you have an account on Foursquare, you can look around your current location to see other businesses that are taking advantage of the service and making offers.


To get in the game and start developing your own loyalty programs, search on Foursquare for your business. If your business is already listed on Foursquare, click the link that allows you to claim it. If it’s not, you need to add it. How do you add your business? Use the Foursquare Android app:

  1. Click Check In.

    A list of businesses in your current area where you can check in appears.

  2. Click the Search icon (the magnifying glass) and search for your business.

    If your business doesn’t appear, go to Step 3.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the search results and click Not Listed? Add This Place to Check In Here.

    The Add New Place screen appears.

  4. Type in the basic details: the category and address.

  5. Click Add New Place.


Once you have added your business, do a search for it. When it turns up in the search results, click its hyperlinked name. At the bottom of the right column, after “Do you manage this location?”, click Claim Here. On the next page, enter information about yourself and provide your phone number. You’ll receive a phone call from Foursquare and information on how to verify your position with the business.

After you have claimed your business, you can start offering promotions to those who check in to your business. To check in, they have to visit your facility in person and show you that they have checked in using the Foursquare app on their smartphone.

But because they’ve walked through the door, the odds that they’ll make a purchase go up dramatically. But at the very least, you should gain more attention as notifications about the check-ins spread through Foursquare — a form of free advertising.

Don’t worry if your store doesn’t show up right away on Foursquare. In many cases, the sites where visitors “check in” most frequently show up first in search results.