Posted March 9, 2011 5:04 pm by with 0 comments

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Foursquare has just announced an upgrade that puts the power of perks into the merchant’s hands. With Foursquare 3.0, merchants will be able to run a variety of specials at the same time, each designed to capitalize on a different kind of customer. Best of all, Foursquare has already done the ground work, so it’s pretty much follow the steps, click the buttons and go.

With the new system, you’ll have a choice of five new customer options and two loyalty programs for existing customers. Under the new heading you have Flash Specials. These are rewards that go out for a very short period of time to the first people who check-in at a specified location. Combine this option with a Facebook fan page blast and you’ve got a very powerful tool for bringing in business on a slow day.

The Friends Special is a great way to get your current customers to spread the word for you. This option is designed to reward people who check-in along with two or more others in the same time period. Swarm Specials are similar but depended on a group of strangers checking-in Groupon stiyle.

One of the most powerful options is the Newbie Special, where a person gets a reward the first time they check-in at a location.

For return customers, Foursquare has options to reward multiple visits and special rewards for those who achieve Mayor status.

The new Foursquare 3.0 upgrade is an excellent tool for small businesses looking to up their foot traffic. But as we’ve seen with Groupon, care must be taken to not overextend. To get the most out of these specials, they should be just that — special. A Flash Special that happens everyday at noon, isn’t that special after all.

Visit the Foursquare blog for more details.