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Facebook Deals the Next Card

It was announced on Monday that Facebook deals would be launching in Europe and the UK in the very near future. The extension of Facebook’s places function which is already established in the U.S has signed up major partners including O2, Debenams and Alton Towers already. This will add a new string to the digital media marketing bow for many business, particularly in the retail sector, and further strengthen the ties between on and offline retail.

Far from being another consuming gimmick for the professional procrastinators out there, Deals will offer real value to business and users by encouraging ‘feet through the door’. In a number of new partnerships Facebook Deals will encourage punters to check-in to physical venues, upon doing so they can click on the ‘deal’ being offered in the particular venue and are then display with a  virtual voucher that they show to the cashier to receive their deal.

This builds on the concept first pioneered by the original geo-location service Foursqaure. Companies such as Dominoes Pizza and Weatherspoons began offering deals like a free small Pizza for the mayor or 20% off pub food. It seems companies are taking it to the next level with Facebook Deals however, Mazda, the Japanese car manufacturer are offering a staggering 20% off a MX-5 convertible Roadster when prospective buyers check in at selected dealerships.

Mazda’s deal represents a huge £4000+ saving and shows that firms are really taking social media marketing seriously. The question is, can all these geo location services co-exist, each with their own niche, or will Facebook assume its current role as social media overlord and exert a monopoly on the location marketing landscape? Services like Foursquare and Gowalla will certainly be worried.

One firm that will be safe is Groupon, while Facebook is very much chained into physical retail locations, Groupon is geared towards days out and experiences. The two online services can conceivably operate alongside each other, Facebook Deals will evry much operate on mobile devices in the physical realm, while Groupon is more something that is checked once or twice a day from your desk top.

Facebook really has the momentum here and potential to take geo-tagging and social shopping into the mainstream is clear to see. With a user base of over 500 million, many of which use the mobile app, Deals is well poised revolutionize the way we shop.

Joe is a blogger for a contract hire company, he is looking forward to the début of Facebook Deals. You can follow him on Twitter @joe__johnson__

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