While Foursquare (News - Alert) is often regarded as a great way to tell everybody about a current location and help others find a great bar, restaurant or similar attraction, its value stops somewhat when it's time to either get to that attraction or go home. That, however, is a point about to change as Foursquare got together with Button to not only add a mobile commerce element to its operations, but take better advantage of another partnership between Foursquare and Uber.
The connection between Button, Foursquare and Uber allows a terrific new option for Foursquare users: the ability to book an Uber ride directly from Foursquare itself. This is not only a big new move for Foursquare and Uber, but also a huge move for Button, as this reportedly represents the launch of Button for Android (News - Alert) devices, as well as its first expansion into international markets. With this move, the Button DeepLink Commerce system that powers the Uber connection is available in not only the United States, but also Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and several others besides.
Operation, meanwhile, is said to be quite simple; Foursquare users that show an interest in going somewhere searched for can then press the Uber button that is surfaced following the search. A few quick button presses later and an Uber ride to that destination is ordered and placed into delivery. Foursquare's senior vice president of product management, Noah Weiss, notes that the addition of Button was a simple process, requiring just “a few lines of code.”
The end result is a more useful app that also offers improved potential for revenue. While advertising has proven less than effective, an addition like this is not only making it possible to get more revenue in but give an app more engagement. Button's work helps to offer that mobile commerce connection right at the highest point of interest, and thus improves the likelihood of making a sale.
In the end, the use of Button in an app might well be considered the highest form of marketing. Marketing is all about driving interest in a product, sufficiently so that users are ready to make a purchase when the time comes to make said purchase. While before, advertising was the only form of marketing that would do this, it was still left with a huge lag to overcome. When Mr. Whipple squeezed the Charmin during prime time, he had to hope that his message would stick around long enough to cover people going into the nearest grocery store to pick up some toilet paper. That might be hours, even days, distant. But with Button, the short attention span actually works in favor of the app; want to try a new restaurant? Hit this button to summon a car to drive you to that restaurant right now! That works out a lot better than advertising and hoping a message sticks.
Essentially, the new Button / Foursquare / Uber connection now gives online services better access to immediacy, something thought to be the last great advantage of brick-and-mortar operations. That could pose a very real threat to those brick-and-mortar operations still left, and we'll likely find out just how it all boils down fairly soon.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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