Facebook Check-in Deals South Africa confirms first commercial partners

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Facebook Check-in Deals South Africa has announced its first major brand partners. The location-based deals service has partnered with car manufacturer Chevrolet, Cellular provider Cell C and car rental firm Avis for its South African launch.

Through the partnership, the companies will have exclusive rights to the Facebook Check-in Deals logo until November.

The service, which has been touted as the “biggest launch in emerging markets for the next year”, enables users to claim special discounts and rewards by “checking in” to particular stores or locations using their GPS enabled smartphones.

“South Africa is a natural market for this — we are massive users of Facebook on our phones,” says Adrian Hewlett of Habari Media, Facebook’s local sales partner. “There are 4.25-million active users in South Africa, of whom 3.1-million access Facebook through their mobiles. Another 425 000 check in to various places weekly.”

Facebook Check-in Deals business model places it in direct competition with other location-based deal services like Foursquare.

Check in Deals replaces the recently defunct Facebook Deals, which was recently shut down after a four month trial in the United States.

Facebook claims that unlike Deals, Check-in Deals will concentrate on connecting a retailer’s Facebook presence with its real world presence.

One of the ways in which Facebook is attempting to ensure that this connection results in actual foot traffic for vendors is by making available deals visible only to people in the immediate vicinity. Only those who actively check-in will be able to make use of the deals.

Hewlett believes that the service has an advantage over group buying schemes in that an individual business can decide on its own deals, with no insistence on deep discounts, and to whom and how long to offer them for.

“Customers can also redeem deal coupons instantly, without waiting for a deal to close. It’s very much personalised, one to one marketing, with a focus on building loyalty,” he adds.

The partner companies each claim to have tailored their offerings to their core business.

Avis says that it will offer a range of personalised deals to customers when they check in to collect a reserved vehicle. Cell C will offer a number of deals on its entry level contracts, with Simon Camerer, Cell C’s Executive Head of Marketing saying the service would enable the company “to use mobile media to encourage face-to-face interactions in our stores, which goes towards building high-quality relationships”.

Chevrolet South Africa meanwhile, is the first of the companies to offer a charity deal. In addition to its individual deals, it will make a donation to the General Motors Child Life Foundation for every 100 check-ins at one of its dealerships.

The service offers four types of deals: Individual deals for one off promotions, loyalty deals that can be claimed after a certain number of check-ins, friend deals for groups and charity deals in which the business can donates to charity for each check in.

Hewlett claims that once Check-in Deals is opened up to other businesses then “any business with a Facebook page will be able to create its own deals quickly and easily through Habari Media”.

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