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Check-In & Unlock a New Way To Connect With Customers

Just as I do every year, I wait until the last minute to do my holiday shopping.  Each year I vow to buy everything online, yet for some reason it never seems to work out.  Tonight I found myself all over town trying to make gift selections for those dearest to me. As I fought the crowds I kept myself entertained reading the colorful tweets prior to tonights contraversal football game featuring the typical Brett Favre shenanigans, that seem to be never ending (retire already).  Blazing a trail through the newly fallen snow, I also was certain to check-in via foursquare as I visited various retailers hoping to unlock a great special or a new badge.  Mission accomplished, as I unlocked “the bookworm” badge upon my check-in at Barnes & Noble tonight!

New badge earned and in a better mood now, I carried on with the shopping bonanza and ventured across town to a favorite retailer of mine, REI. Getting out of my car and walking to the door I check-in, nothing to unlock here but at least I know i’ll enjoy the time I spend while in this store. My ten plus years in the outdoor industry has spoiled me when it comes to high end sporting goods. I enter the front door and then I see it. A very large sign encouraging customers to “check-in” on facebook places with their smart phones.  For every check-in REI was going to donate $50 to the Ice Age Trail for maintenance.

I sat there thinking to myself, now in the mobile phone industry and a social media junkie, wow this is awesome! I was so geeked that REI was using location based social media to not only bring more visibility to their business, but also to create a deeper connection with their customers! These donations for simply visiting and checking in truly go a long way in building those all important connections to the communities in which retailers do business. I proudly checked in, and am looking forward to my next hike on the Ice Age Trail, knowing that REI helped to maintain it using social media as a catalyst.

Albeit tiny in scope, this is a great example of the power of social media in action and at its best. You know darn well I tweeted about this right away with the hopes to draw even more people into REI.  It also shows a simple way location based social media applications can be used to drive increased brand awareness, connect with your target customers, increase sales, and lead to brand evangelists.

Tonight was a pretty outstanding evening for me from a social media perspective. New badge unlocked and $50 donated to a local trail, all by simply checking-in.  My passion for customer service and the social media space causes me to stop think about how retailers are doing business and connecting with their customers quite often; tonight was a good night to reflect on that.

For those of you wondering, I still didn’t finish my holiday shopping. Four days left.

2 Responses to “Check-In & Unlock a New Way To Connect With Customers”

  1. Dan says:

    I love the Ice Age Trail donation idea. Great way to get customer interaction and to help out the community.

  2. Sharif Renno says:

    Thanks Dan! I was really excited to see REI doing giving something back to the community and helping to maintain a great natural resource in WI. The use of social media in this situation really made an emotional connection with me, which is what helps motivate most purchasing decisions. Well done REI. Thanks again for your comment Dan!

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