Mobile commerce: Facebook Joins the Party
Well, what a January it's been in the mobile commerce market! My earlier posts have picked up some of the most notable developments but the last week has seen a couple more. Firstly, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK announced the launch of the UK's first mobile payment service by early summer, working with Barclaycard - that's a contactless scheme. Today came the news that Facebook has launched Places Deals in the UK & Europe in the latest Android and iPhone apps.
Combining location data and merchant offers, Facebook mobile users will be able identify special offers and discounts near to them and share those deals with their friends. Launch partners include Starbucks (no surprises there!), Debenhams, H&M, Argos, Alton Towers (theme park), O2 (discount off concert tickets) and Mazda. At the moment Facebook says it is not monetising the service but is waiting to see how it evolves.
Well in Juniper's research on mobile coupons, we've noted the importance of viral marketing, and we've also seen the launch of some coupons services linked in to social networking for specific user groups such as young mums. This however takes integration of social networking with mobile commerce and coupons to the next level.
Smart move and my view is that this one is destined to make a big impact.
The secret sauce? My guess is this. Keep striking new deals and offers with merchants and mobile operators. They need to be up to date and relevant but also there needs to be a steady stream of new ones to keep people interested.