Facebook Deals, a product extension of Facebook Places, puts Facebook users firm in the hunt for online and mobile buying. Facebook Deals was first announced last year in the US; the first of its kind in the mobile market. A few months later Facebook Deals was released in numerous countries around the world, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom (UK). A few days ago Habari Media, the official sales partner for Facebook in Africa, announced that Facebook Deals will finally be launching in South Africa in August 2011.
After a much anticipated wait, local businesses can now use this opportunity to reward their customers when they check into their establishment using Facebook. Facebook Deals are designed for a range of small standalone businesses, to retail and chain outlets nationally and internationally. Although this sort of opportunity had already been awarded to business owners by the location based application Foursquare; the number of active Facebook users in South Africa is far greater than Foursquare users.
How to access Facebook Deals
If Facebook users are close to an establishment offering a deal, this will appear on their phones. The user simply checks into the establishment and claims the specific deal. The user’s network of friends are then informed about the check in and deal.
The 4 kinds of deals
- Individual Deals - These deals reward customers for simply checking in. This could range from anything, a discount on selected items, a free product etc.
- Loyalty Deals – When a Facebook user checks into an establishment multiple times it increases their loyalty to that organisation. These deals will reward a user after a certain amount of check ins. This is similar to the concept of “Mayor” on Foursquare.
- Friend Deals – Establishments will offer discounts to a group of up to 8 friends.
- Charity Deals – Establishments will donate a certain amount of money to a cause when someone checks in.
Is this enough?
Facebook Deals will definitely help create awareness for local businesses and more importantly the small to medium businesses that cannot afford high advertising costs. Although this won’t cost business owners anything, they should definitely consider advertising on Facebook by using Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, not only does it promote your Facebook Fan Page, I believe the ROI is good value for money. Facebook fan pages that have Facebook Applications for example should definitely consider Facebook Advertising. Group buying sites are not going to be the only thing changing the way we shop, mobile applications like Facebook Mobile and Foursquare is going to create a dynamic shift in the South African market.