Foursquare + American Express = Small Business Saturday

Joe McCann

This past shopping frenzy of a weekend (the weekend following Thanksgiving with Black Friday now starting at 10pm on Thanksgiving night, which is Thursday) there was actually a program piloted by one of Foursquare's biggest partners, American Express ($AXP) called Small Business Saturday.

In a nutshell, American Express gave cardholders a $25 statement credit if they shopped at an independent, local business that accepted American Express. Sounds cool and it's good for small, independent businesses during a rather busy time for big box retailers and multi-national conglomerates. However, the process of how the user got the credit is what is, in my opinion, unique.

First, the American Express customer had to checkin on Foursquare at the small business location. Next, they had to purchase at least $25 worth of goods or services. Finally they had to load the "special" to the card.

Foursquare and Amex Unlock on iPhone

There was some setup required ahead of time for this deal to work with your Amex, namely, you had to sync your Foursquare account with your Amex account online.

The upside here is that everyone wins. The consumer gets $25 credited to their account. The small business gets additional revenue from the small uptick in sales. Foursquare gains in number of checkins and the ability to track how many people actually unlocked and used the deal. And American Express wins, probably the most out of all, for not only do they get the postive PR by showing their support for small businesses, but Amex gets 3% of to the total purchase by the customers.

I'm willing to bet that many people didn't simply spend only $25, but most likely spent more and in some cases much more wherein Amex makes even more money on those purchases.

What's quite telling to me about this entire event (stunt?) is how a company like American Express is embracing the mobile retail experience aside from the typical "mobile wallet". American Express is taking action by partnering with a hyper-mobile and hyper-local company like Foursquare and engaging with consumers through a new form of communication. These types of opportunities exist and are abundant, yet are simply undiscovered or are currently in the works.

For me, this is only the beginning of continued integration and exploration of how mobile devices continue to impact our daily lives.