retail – Stay N Alive

Wishlist Wednesday – Facebook Connect for Retailers

FacebookI think we may be onto a tradition today.  In celebration of @jesse mccartney’s birthday (see my last post for background), I’ve got one more wish.  This one is for Retailers and how they can better integrate Facebook Connect.  Specifically those with physical store locations – I think this one’s pretty cool, and would be really simple to implement!  The idea is the ability to truly identify individuals visiting your store.

Here’s how it would work:

  • Customers download a custom app for their cell phone (this would probably be most effective on an Android or Palm Pre phone).  This app connects them through Facebook Connect and logs them in to your store.
  • On your servers you identify the individual’s Facebook account (by simply storing their Facebook ID with their customer account) – you now know exactly who they are – their name, their location, their interests, and more.
  • When the customer visits one of your stores, their cell phone recognizes they are at that location (assuming they’ve given it permission to do so), and you’re able to identify the customer is now at one of your stores.  Now, imagine the implications:

    • The customer needs help – they push a little “I need help!” button on their cell phone.  Immediately a CSR is notified, and they can send someone, to their exact location within the store, to help or answer questions.  They can even greet the individual by name!
    • The customer visits the cash register.  The cash register realizes this and immediately brings up the customer’s name so the sales rep can greet them by name and even know a little of their past history with the company so they can help further.
    • Your company could keep a list of influential bloggers. When they visit your store, you are immediately notified, and you can ensure they are getting the best experience necessary.
    • More importantly, you now have a record of exactly how many people are visiting your store, who they are, various demographics about those people, and what they’re purchasing, if they’re purchasing anything.

Let’s take this a little further now.  Imagine if your customers could track their friends that are also shopping at the store.  They could organize shopping trips, see what others amongst their friends are buying, view the most popular purchased items amongst their friends, and more.  Or perhaps you could release a coupon to individuals and only allow them to share it with 5 of their Facebook friends.  There are so many possibilities when you think about actually being able to identify individuals, and their friends who physically shop at your stores.

When thinking Facebook Connect don’t just think virtual!  I would use something like the above, and I know many others will too, especially in a privacy-controlled environment like Facebook.  What other ideas can you think of, mixing GPS with Facebook Connect?