Some things just go together like chocolate and peanut butter. I’d categorize the latest announcement by American Express and location-based services leader, foursquare as one of those combinations. If you follow the location-based services space at all, you might remember that Amex and foursquare partnered up for a trial run during South by Southwest (SXSW) back in March. The three day trial was an overwhelming success and obviously set the stage for the two companies’ latest announcement.
So what does this mean? Personally, I see this as a win/win/win for the location-based services space, both companies and in particular, their customers. Here’s how I see each stakeholder benefiting:
- Location-based services – the fact that 161 year old American Express (also number 91 on Fortune’s most recent “500″ list) is partnering with foursquare is a major validation to the whole location-based industry. In particular, it says that a company as big, old and well-known as Amex sees value in LBS.
- Amex/foursquare – this makes Amex look younger and hipper and creates a loyalty 2.0-style program that is a key differentiator between them and the other credit card/FiServ companies. For foursquare, this further solidifies their positioning as the de facto leader in LBS.
- The customer – where’s the downside of getting money back and additional rewards as a result of checking in? None that I can see. And I’ve talked to David Wolf at Amex, the man responsible for making this program happen, and he has assured me that there is next to zero security risk based on the way they’ve set up the program.
Being a realist, we still have a ways to go with the lead location-based provider boasting a mere 10 million members. But this is a start. Most importantly, it shows other companies that they can benefit from location-based services as well. What other companies need to jump into the LBS game before you’re a believer?