The North Face Tests Geo-Fencing

Fashion brand, The North Face, are to test geo-fencing in an attempt to promote offers and tailored information to opted in customers.

31 of the their stores have been selected for the test which will identify people who have previously opted in to receive these messages via SMS, once they enter a 1.5 mile radius of a selected location. People will effectively check and check out when they enter or leave a location.

As customers will have been profiled by the brand previously, the potential to promote relevant offers directly to people near a store is a tempting thought. Of course opting out is easy – a customer simply has to text ‘STOP’ and they’ll stop receiving these messages.

This seems like a great example of a brand grabbing the bull by the horns and capitalising on the increased usage of Facebook’s Places and Four Square by becoming an early adopter of the technology.

I can imagine a shopping trip in the not too distant future, simply being a case of turning up at the mall, grabbing a coffee at at the shop offering you the best deal on coffee that day and then just waiting for the offers to roll in.

Location, Location, Location

On Wednesday this week Facebook launched ‘Places’. Its own location based application.

As Four Square, Gowalla and others have proved, we seem all to willing to ‘check in’ and in doing so give away our most valuable personal asset – our location.

Despite the Mayor badges and other medals on offer, we seem to do this for no reason other than to let people know where we are. Are they interested? Probably not, and yet we still feel the need. To me this justifys Stan Rapp’s quote this week, “this generation of consumers are the most narcisistic ever.”

We all manage our “I” brands carefully on Facebook specifically, and adding our whereabouts gives us another reason to talk about our favourite subject-ourselves. This isn’t a judgemental observation- I do it too!

How Facebook develop Places remains to be seen. Tying it in with retailers, targeted advertising and location based incentives will no doubt grow.

But how my friends now start to use a tool that is an integral part of their favourite social network, rather than a third party application will be fascinating.

More polishing of their “I Brands”? I bet they won’t be able to resist it! I’m going to have a play!