By Emma Barnett
Facebook has launched Places Deals, a service which allows users to check into shops using their mobile phone to get discounts, in the UK and Europe.
As revealed by The Telegraph this morning, Facebook users will now be able to get discounts and special deals in shops, cafes and restaurants thanks to a new mobile phone feature.
Facebook’s Places Deals, launched in the US last November, is a new service which rewards users for visits to different locations by logging their whereabouts on the site via their mobile phones.
Launch partners include Starbucks, who are offering a free filter coffee to those who check in today, Debenhams, Argos, Alton Towers, O2 and Mazda.
“We all love a bargain so whether you’re on the lookout for a special offer at your favourite restaurant or tips from a fashionista friend about a discount on shoes in a department store, Facebook Deals will help you find it,” said Joanna Shields, Facebook’s EMEA vice president.
The move is part of a growing trend which will see consumers increasingly use their mobile phones instead of credit cards. Last week it emerged that Apple’s forthcoming iPad and iPhone are expected to include a mobile payments feature that the firm hopes will replace cash and cards for millions of users.
Last year Facebook launched its Places service, which allows users to share their location with their friends by ‘checking in’ to bars, restaurants and shops and to see which friends are near them, via the social network’s mobile phone application.
However, until now, UK users have not been able to use the service to find out which good deals or offers are available near them. Now with the ‘Deals’ service, Facebook users will be able see what offers are nearest to them at any time and share those deals with their friends.
When the discount service launched in the US, a developer writing on the company’s blog said: “You’ll see a few different types of Deals: individual deals for a discount, free merchandise or other reward; friend deals where you and your friends claim an offer together; loyalty deals for being a frequent visitor to a place; and charity deals where businesses pledge to donate to a cause when you check in.”
When Places Deals launched in the US, some of the initial partners included Macys, Gap and Starbucks.
Ian Maude, head of Internet at Enders Analysis, said: “This move is a no brainer for Facebook. Places Deals is a combination of Foursquare meets Groupon (the popular daily discount site). It is the company’s first major move into mobile, discounts and location based advertising. I think this has the potential to be a smash hit for them.”