Coupons + Geo-Location = Technology I’d Like To See

My friend, Patric Welch (aka Mr. Noobie), writes an occasional blog feature he calls Technology I’d Like to See (TILTS). I liked it so much that I steal the idea from time to time, and share the occasional TILTS idea I have, to see if I can get the parties involved to actually make it happen. Kids playing Foursquare. It's a play on the social networking service by the same name.

We’re starting to see how some geo-location services, like Geoloqi (in closed beta), will automatically perform services for you based on you just entering a specific location, like check you into a Foursquare location if you have been there for more than 10 minutes, or send you an SMS note the next time you go to a grocery store.

My point is, geo-location is becoming the hot new social networking service for consumers, and savvy marketers are already taking advantage of it. Check in at a restaurant, and you could get a discount off your dinner. Stop in at a bookstore, and you may get a notice that your favorite author has a new book coming out.

So here’s my TILTS idea:

I would like to see one of these coupon services, like Groupon or, sell on-the-spot coupons, through Foursquare, Gowalla, or any of the other geo-location services. If I check in to a restaurant that has a coupon, I want the option to buy the coupon right there, and be able to redeem it from my phone.

Currently, if I buy a coupon, I have to print it out and give it to them. And if I’m already in a restaurant, then printing out the coupon is not an option. But what if I could share a coupon with a custom ID number (or bar code or QR code) that the server can enter into the computer, and it will honor the coupon, and insure I can’t cheat and use it again? (A local coupon provider, Coupons4Indy already has one-time mobile coupons you can redeem, so I know this can be done.)

This way, sites like and can take advantage of the growing geo-location trend, marketers will have more ways to improve the ROI of their social media efforts, and the consumer benefits by finding surprise deals at their favorite restaurant.

What do you think? Can you think of a way to improve this? Or where are the flaws that you see? And if you’re from any of the coupon or geo-location services, what do you think? Is this even doable? And do you need my mailing address to send me a finder’s fee?

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency in Indianapolis, IN. He co-authored three social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (2nd ed., 2012; Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.


    1. Similarly shoppers could receive promotional codes offering discounts by way of email. This is common for shoppers who belong to buyer?s club organized by the over the internet retailer. These types of clubs normally provide these promotional codes to common shoppers to reward them for their consumer loyalty and encourage the shopper to continue to patronize the on the net retailer.

    2. Kevin, you just gave me another TILTS idea. Right now, if I check in somewhere on Foursquare, like Hubbard & Cravens, they only know that I showed up. They don’t know who I am, what I buy, how often I come, etc., unless they check me out and friend me. THEN, they can see how many times I’ve been there. But Foursquare doesn’t make that information very easy to find.

      So the TILTS idea is that marketers could choose to get contact information or access to me, for a fee. But there might even have to be a threshhold — if I check into a place once, chances are I may not want to hear from them. If I check in 5 times, I probably like them. If I check in 15 – 20 times, then I should hear from the locations about special “best fans only” offers they’re running, like private events, special tastings, unveilings, etc.

      Thanks for the jumping off point. This may turn into another TILTS column!!

    3. Erik, you’re right on with this. I think alot iof it depends on the POS system at the retailers. If they have a common software that will redeem and capture this informationin a uniform way, it can take off. However, if the formats of diferent Geo-Location software hinders the redemptionprocess, this could be a stumbling block.


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