Analyst Report: Shopping Matters When it Comes to Location-Based Apps


Location-based services (LBS) exploded into the news during the last couple of weeks in August with announcement after announcement of new services for location-enabled shopping and social networking. Three LBS shopping apps launched within days of each other: Shopkick, ShopAlerts and AisleBuyer. Each provides its own twist on customer-retailer interactions.

Location game provider SCVNGR, meanwhile, announced a partnership with AT&T for in-store rewards. But Facebook stole the show with the release of Facebook Places, its LBS social networking application that allows users to give real-time updates about where they are and what they’re doing.

Facebook is wearing long coattails with Places: Instead of competing directly with existing location check-in apps, the social network is partnering with them. In the process, Facebook is giving the relatively small startups responsible for the apps access to its massive user base, not to mention a visibility boost. Executives from Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp! and Booyah! took to the stage during the Places rollout to announce the integration of their services with Facebook via the Places API.

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Riding the LBS Wave
    1. Engaging the Users
    2. Monetizing the Users
    3. Venture Capital Interest
  3. Challenges to Widespread Adoption
    1. Privacy
    2. Scale
    3. One-click Check-in
    4. Check-in Integrity
  4. Shopping: the Key to Location’s Future?
  5. Appendix A: Selected LBS Announcements 2008 – 2010
  6. Relevant Companies
    1. Social Networking Origin
    2. Shopping Bargains Origin
    3. Shopping with Barcode Emphasis
    4. Local Business Reviews Origin
    5. Location-Based Gaming Origin
    6. Other Origins

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