Just as I posted on LivingSocial.com coming into South Africa, we now have Facebook Deals making its entrance. If anyone thought the social buying landscape was going to be shaken up by Groupon, it seems it is only now becoming of age.
In a slightly new style of doing deals, Facebook Deals has appointed Habari Media as their official sales partner, which is said to be launching in August 2011. And that, by my watch, is in 5 days time. However, this is not going to be the “rush and buy the deal without reading the fine print and be unhappy later” kind of deal – customers are going to use a Foursquare-type check-in to earn rewards and deals alike.
There are different kinds of deals to earn:
Individual Deals are those offering something for someone checking in – this could be a discount or an actual product/service. Imagine a free coffee for checking into a new coffee shop.
Loyalty Deals rewards customers after a certain number of check-ins (finally something for all the Foursquare mayors in South Africa?).
Friend Deals offer discounts to a group of up to eight friends – so this equates to the sort-of Swarm Badge effect that Foursquare has.
Charity Deals mean that a business gives money to a cause when you check in.
The only group buying deal really is the Friend Deal, all the others would be to build awareness and loyalty. But Facebook Deals does not only generate awareness, and place feet with a merchant – they also create a loyal following. And in the end, one can imagine the kind of “sharing” and “liking” that will really place small and large businesses on the map, online and in person.
According to Habari Media, there are at this point in time “over 300 000 local Facebook users who daily check in to Facebook Places, with no incentive to do so.” The biggest eyebrow-raiser, as always: Where does Facebook Deals get a cut? So far, the only way for them to earn bucks here is on the advertising that businesses will spend on to attract people to their Places. This does not necessarily seem viable.
There are many also debates:
How accurate is this sort of check-in? Foursquare in Africa is not accurate and I doubt Facebook Deals will be.
How do the merchants check it? If I check into a coffee shop four times from my office and arrive on the fifth time for my loyalty cup, how would they know?
How does one know where to check in? Will the iOS, Android and RIM Facebook apps start telling us what is around us? Or is Foursquare still going to trounce Facebook Deals in South Africa in this regard?
What if someone wants to check in and not let others know – will this be available?
Many points remain to be answered, but one thing seems sure – Facebook Deals will be in South Africa in August 2011. The questions are: Will you be using it, and will it be worth it for businesses and customers?