Popular location-based service Foursquare was full of announcements at SXSW this year. According to Eric Friedman, the Director of Business Development for the startup, all of the announcements fit into the following categories: Discovery, Engagement, and Loyalty.
As he explained to WebProNews, the company announced Foursquare 3.0. This new version includes a feature called "Explore," which allows users to know where their friends are, what's going on around them, and what to do next. It is, essentially, a recommendation engine that is based on the data culminated from 2 years of check-ins.
"We're finally able to take all that information, take the social graph, take all your friends' information, and say, these are things that are specific to you... which is a really important paradigm of how and why the data is being used," said Friedman.
Foursquare also launched a merchant platform called "Foursquare Specials" that applies to businesses of all sizes. It gives businesses opportunities to communicate with their customers. In addition, Foursquare allows merchants to now become verified. Once this process is complete, these businesses gain access to a dashboard that includes customer analytics, the ability to run specials, and a means for seeing how their campaigns are performing.
Another program that Foursquare is recently advocating is its Ambassador Program. Although the program launched last year, the company has recently opened it to a wider audience. The program allows users to become evangelists, or ambassadors, that help their favorite businesses get signed up on Foursquare. The ambassadors get a customized url that Foursquare uses to track the number of merchants they sign up. As a result, the ambassadors get more specials from their favorite locations.
Although more and more location-based services have emerged, Foursquare has become the leader in the space. In order to maintain this position, the company plans on further developing products such as "Explore" to provide value back to the user.
"We've grown leaps and bounds from last year, but we're still very focused on the product and very focused on the best user experience and user engagement," Friedman pointed out.