Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Loyalty Program Via Facebook App – Good or Bad Idea?

is looking to enter the US market with a loyalty program for smaller retailers that’s tied to a customer’s Facebook account. Seems like this is a good idea for Facebook and the retailer but is this is good for the consumer?

The way the system works is this: the online retailer integrates BonusBox’s software-as-a-service tool into their store. That means customers who are buying goods are then asked if they want to join the store’s loyalty scheme. They can only do so with their Facebook login.

Once they’ve installed the BonusBox Facebook app, they can then check it from time to time to see what deals are being offered by the various e-tailers that use the system. Those deals can be targeted by examining what the customer has bought from various stores that use the scheme, and how that tallies with their age or other personal data.

Facebook already has so much of your personal information. They know your friends, family, what you did last week, what you ate for breakfast this morning (if you post this type of detail), and if you sign on to this service they’ll know what you buy and from where. Allowing one company to know so much about you might not be the best thing in the world.

On the other hand, if companies like BonusBox can sign on enough retailers with their app this could be a boon to customers too. If the app is written correctly you’ll get notified of deals and discounts for things and places that you may not have considered before.

Amazon’s recommendation engine kind of stinks. I’ve been an Amazon customer from early on and the only thing Amazon ever recommends to me are things I’ve already purchased or have already examined. I can’t think of a single time their recommendations to me lead me to purchase anything.

Mom and pop stores don’t have the resources to build their own apps and usually don’t have the customer base to get into recommendations other than in face to face interactions. With a service such as BonusBox and their Facebook app a small shop can join and potentially get their products and services in front of people that otherwise wouldn’t know they exist.

If you’re not squeamish about putting more personal information into Facebook then BonusBox might be just what’s needed to help connect people with small retailers. This could keep local economies humming.

Read more via GigaOm