Leveraging location based services to drive new customers

Location Based Services (LBS), such as the mobile applications Foursquare and Yelp, are great ways to drive new and existing customers to the front steps of your dealership.

LBS leverages GPS on your phone to identify your location. It’s also been called SoLoMo for social, local and mobile. These mobile applications allow businesses to reward users for physically coming into their brick and mortar location and “checking in” through the app. Some apps also connect to Facebook and Twitter, so customers that “check in” can instantly build buzz about your dealership by sharing their location with their friends online. Customers are rewarded for their “check-ins” with virtual badges and real incentives such as discounts off purchases. There is no question that people gravitate towards discounts and special incentives; rewarding customers for coming to your dealership is a win-win for everyone.

Here are the advantages:

  • 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising when making a purchase decision. A customer visiting a dealership and boasting about it to their friends online is the highest form of recommendation there is.
  • The devices are “location aware,” meaning they offer a way for consumers to perform searches for local business within the vicinity of the phone’s exact location. This is a great way for your dealership to get discovered by new potential customers in the area that are utilizing these LBS applications. Foursquare alone has 20 million registered users and 2 billion “check-ins” to date.
  • More content equals more visibility. Customers have the ability to take photos of your dealership, their favorite bikes, or events they attend. These photos are attached to their “check in”, creating a new visual layer of interaction for customers to engage with their friends about your dealership. For example, if your dealership was throwing a huge event and a fan “checked in” and shared a picture of everyone having a great time, this most definitely would perk the interest of their friends to come down to the event and check it out.
  • The more data about your customers the better! Business owners can create specials to reward customers who check-in, and as a result, have free access to valuable consumer insight data like most frequent visitors, times of day for checking in and customer gender breakouts with account creation.

Suggested incentives

  • First Timer Special: Get 10 percent off any service for a person’s first “check-in”
  • Loyalty Special: Get a free oil change for 10 “check-ins”
  • Mayor Reward: Get 10 percent off a purchase for the person with the most “check-ins” at your dealership. Foursquare calls this person the “mayor.”
  • Friends Special: “Check in” with 3 friends for a free T-shirt at your event. This is a great way to incentivize customers to bring their friends to your events

How to set up your program


  1. Visit the Foursquare Merchant Dashboard to claim your venue, so it shows up when your customers search for you in the application.
  2. Set up the “Specials” you’d like to offer, then launch the special!
  3. Promote your special through your business’ website, Facebook, Twitter, email lists and most importantly AT YOUR DEALERSHIP.
  4. Visit this URL to get started: https://foursquare.com/business/ 


  1. If you aren’t already on Yelp, sign up for a business account. There are several other beneficial reasons why your business should be on Yelp above and beyond “check-ins” (which I will cover in another blog post).
  2. Set up your “Check-In Offer”. Designate how many “check-ins” it will take for customers to receive the offer, then launch the offer!
  3. Promote your check-in incentive through your business’ website, Facebook, Twitter, email lists and most importantly AT YOUR DEALERSHIP.
  4. Visit this URL to get started: https://biz.yelp.com/

Patricia Dao is the director of social products and general manager of Dominion Social Ventures.

Website: www.psnsales.com


One comment

  1. Patty,

    Nice overview & takeaways. Another key item is to ensure everyone in your dealership is aware of the specials available for customers.

    It’s so frustrating when a customer unlocks a special and the staff doesn’t know what to do with it…

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