65th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 65 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire fourteen-piece series!]

I’ve had a lousy 24 hours, so I am a little more cranky than usual…

I’ve been at this Publix Foursquare Watch for a while now. 35 total check-ins (since the watch started)…14 blog posts. And, I am not proud to report, a growing list of people and blogs that are talking about this little crusade of mine. Just yesterday, I had a gentleman retweet the link to the whole series, which resulted in a handful of further retweets.

And…nothing. Either Publix sees me as a gnat and not worth the trouble, or they just aren’t listening. Which, to be honest, boggles my mind.

Now, I am not saying this because I want Publix to kiss my ass. To be honest, all I want is for my local store to send me a note that says, “Hey Todd, thanks for being a great customer. We appreciate you.”

That’s all I am looking for. I don’t care about specials. Or discounts. Or special mayoral privileges.

A friend of mine, who is in a constant battle to be Mayor of her local Publix with her own husband, told me that the manager of her local store did actually acknowledge them when they were in the store one day. So, it can happen. And don’t tell me it has to be a decision/policy that comes down from corporate. It’s a decision to care.

Foursquare causes conversation to happen on the social web. In two ways. From bloggers like me who stir up dust like I am doing on a blog series such as this one. Or two, because people are talking – and buzzing – about a real cool, innovative, clever, action-provoking campaign to reward your Foursquare users and evangelists.

Either way, you, as a company (read: Publix) ought to be listening. Technology and the social web makes it silly easy to set up listening posts and monitoring stations to listen for – and respond to – dialog about your company and brand (good or bad).

Honestly, I just can’t believe no one is listening. What an amazing opportunity lost. [well, not for me. I am learning a heck of lot to teach and educate my clients on what NOT to do]

Todd’s FREE Foursquare Tip For Publix!: Just frickin’ say thanks. Foursquare builds a list of real people that have been to your store. You probably see hundreds, heck, maybe even thousands, of people come through your doors each day. But Foursquare creates a list of bunch of them. Use it to say hello…

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

[back to our regularly scheduled programming - and fun Publix Foursquare tips - with the next post.]

60th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 60 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire thirteen-piece series!]

Thirty check-ins after it started, and still no word. But no worries…the watch will continue!

By now, most people seriously wonder about my whacked grocery shopping habits. As you are probably aware, I go multiple times a week, and only purchase a few items on a given trip (instead of going once a week, and filling two shopping carts with stuff).

It is the shopper who runs into the store for a few items that I am thinking about now…

I wish there was a section in the front of the store containing the most popular items, such as milk, eggs, bread, or in my case, wine.

Something similar to the section of my local store pictured here (I took this shot from the check-out line). You can create a mini-convenient store section, coupled with a simple check-in station for all your geolocation users…

Todd’s FREE Foursquare Tip For Publix!: Why not incent people who make these quick trips into a grocery store to come to Publix? By checking-in on Foursquare, you can reward them by giving them a discount on their purchase, a free cup of coffee or soft drink, or by giving them a special coupon only provided to Foursquare users.

As in, “Hey honey, I stopped at Publix to get the milk, and I got a coupon for $15 off for any purchases over $75!” Or something like that?

Make it easy for your customers to get the common standard items they need quickly, but also reward them for being loyal customers and checking-in on Foursquare!

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

56th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch, And Maybe A Little Starbucks Too…

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 56 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire twelve-piece series!]

Two things happened this week that have frustrated me…

One, early in the week, I lost my Publix Mayoralty. Again. This time, to a new individual. Her name is Jen M… But then, a few days later, I reclaimed the title…

So I am obviously in a battle with a few folks for this title at my local store…this is GREAT for Publix. Sadly, they apparently have NO idea. But THREE people have been the Foursquare Mayor of Publix over the last two weeks. I don’t think they have ANY idea how great this is for them.

The possibilities for this store are ENDLESS…. But we’ll get into that down the road…

The second thing that bothered me was this. After I left Publix, I walked into my local Starbucks (which is connected to the Publix), checked-in, and claimed the title of Mayor! Yay! I then proceeded to ask the lady what that actually meant…

She looked at me as if I was smoking something. She’d never even heard of it. Which, I must say, isn’t all that surprising. And yet, as I recall, at one point Starbucks has offered some benefits to their Mayors.

She kindly went to see her manager, and when she came back, she said “well, it means, like, well, you’re king of the mountain, or something…”

Hmmm. The manager knew what I was talking about. Clearly, and described it to this staffer in such a way that communicated “I don’t care what he’s asking you, tell that pain in the ass to get out of our way…”

Or at least that’s how I interpreted it…

Todd’s FREE Publix Starbucks Foursquare Tip: Even if you are NOT – at that exact moment in time – offering a specific Foursquare check-in special…when a guy claims to have just been ordained as the new Mayor, and a FRICKIN’ MANAGER is asked about it…

As the manager, I would walk out to the guy, shake his hand, thank him for his business, and offer the poor dude a small coffee or something… Or ask him if he wants a free sample of a food item… Or at least say, “Hey! We are really glad to see you!”

That kind of message would sustain me for days… And Lord knows I would tell someone about it.

But at least open your mind to the possibilities… You were SPOON FED a chance to recognize a good customer (by definition, your Foursquare Mayor has BEEN THERE BEFORE and will LIKELY COME BACK AGAIN…), and to express your appreciation… And. They. Blew. It.

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix? Or Starbucks? Sigh…

50th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 50 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire eleven-piece series!]

Mission Accomplished!

I have successfully reclaimed my Mayor-ship on my 50th check-in! [How appropriate that it occur on the 50th...]

But like George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, this celebration is probably a bit premature as well…

Because I still haven’t received any kind of acknowledgment from my local Publix. You will recall I started my Foursquare watch following my 30th check-in. And. still. nothing.

20 check-ins later…

Sad thing is, I actually had to compete pretty hard to get my title back. Took me six check-ins – after I all but guaranteed getting it back. So, the gentlemen with whom I am competing gave me a good run.

Can you imagine what would happen if Publix actually cared about people like us? And being Mayor actually meant something? Publix had the scenario originally envisioned by Foursquare…heated competition for Mayor.

As I reflect on this, I am left to wonder…why isn’t Publix doing anything about this, let alone responding to someone like me?

1. Does the local store manager not care?

2. Does corporate control and dictate all marketing outreach like this?

3. Does Publix not care about the social web?

4. Does Publix not understand the social web?

5. Does Publix take crazy customers like me for granted?

I hope not. And that’s the point of this watch: to bring awareness of the possibilities to large organizations like Publix…

Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: Simple lesson for large organizations with multiple locations: Empower each individual store to take the initiative and get creative with outreach with their most important customers. Don’t let headquarters dictate actions from far, far away…

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

44th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 44 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire ten-piece series!]

Oh sure, they'll do t-shirts like this, but not take care of their Foursquare customers...

Hey Publix! I am back!

Took a break from my Foursquare Watch. I was getting too fat going there several times a week… In fact, I have cut back on my Foursquare activity to let you guys catch up…

But in doing so, I lost my Mayorship…

Now, if being Mayor actually mattered, I would be disappointed. Now, it is just a matter of honor. But never fear, I will get my title back…

Which leads me to my next: Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: If you understand Foursquare, you know the Mayor is a title designated to someone who has checked-in on Foursquare the most times in the preceding two months. What does that mean? It means they are a VERY important customer.

Since a critical piece of Foursquare is to get your customers competing to hold the title of Mayor, why not incent EX-mayors like me to get their title back? Why not reward them with 50% off a bottle of wine if they successfully reclaim their title?

That would surely get me motivated to get that title back…

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

38th, 39th Check-Ins | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 39 times, without hearing so much as a peep. He will blog after every check-in until he gets recognized as a loyal customer. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge on how they might use Foursquare. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire nine-piece series!]

The evil scale of death...

So I am training for my second half-marathon. And I am trying to lose a little more weight. I spend hours wandering through the lonely aisles in my local Publix trying to figure out what healthy, nutritious, energy-boosting, non-processed food there is for me to eat.

When I was walking out of the store tonight, an idea struck me. I make it a real point to ignore the REALLY LARGE scale that sits by the door. I have been shopping here a while, and I NEVER see anyone use this thing. Except the occasional kid jumping on and off while mom is already half-way out to the car…

I know that establishments like Publix exist to turn profits. And Lord knows I am doing my best to contribute to those. But wouldn’t it be cool – and different – and memorable – if your local grocery store “cared” about you eating healthy? I mean, wow…

Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: Why not encourage people to check-in on Foursquare upon arriving at the store, and at the same time, weighing themselves on the REALLY LARGE SCALE by the door. Have an employee log in your weight so that you have someone keeping you accountable.

After every FIVE check-ins, give the people following the program a nice DISCOUNT on healthy food…say fruits or vegetables. The kid logging your weight can give you a coupon when they verify your check-in…

I don’t know, but I think rotund adults like me and kids that perhaps need encouragement to lose a little weight might find this interesting and fun. What do you think?

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

37th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 37 times, without hearing so much as a peep from them. He will blog after every check-in until he gets some form of customer acknowledgment. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire eight-piece series!]

The window shopping men do...

I am a man.

Which, of course, means that when we walk into a grocery store, we do one of two things:

A. Go in with a specific list of necessary items, the list usually provided to us by someone else.

B. Walk in hungry, with no plan of what we really need or want. This usually results in greasy snacks, beer, and/or an odd collection of meat and/or beef products.

I admit. I am very much a “B” man. And when I walk into a store, I would love to be given an idea, something for dinner spoon fed to me, the least creative guy on the cooking earth…

And this leads me to today’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: Remember, a retailer like Publix can post specials and things like a “complete meal idea” that simply pop-up on your smart phone screen when you check-in at the store or even to surrounding venues.

Might be a cool idea – from time to time – to offer up a complete meal idea to shoppers like me. You might even suggest a multi-course meal including main entree, vegetable, dessert, and an appropriate wine to go with it. You might even offer a small discount for buying the complete package, or maybe throw in the dessert for free?

What other Foursquare/geolocation ideas do YOU have for Publix?

36th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 36 times, without hearing so much as a peep from them. He will blog after every check-in until he gets some form of customer acknowledgment. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire seven-piece series!]

OK, so I checked-in to Publix again tonight. Again, nary a peep.

But guess what! I got some direct mail from them today! That’s right, a sixteen-page booklet, sort of a coupon book if you will.

This piece was addressed to me, or current resident, you know, just in case I have moved on. And full of coupons targeted to…children.

Some things about me:

1. I have no children.
2. I haven’t had children in this house. Ever. [and as a direct mail vendor, I know that data is easily and affordably available to let you know if a household contains little ones....]
3. I am a runner. I blog about running. And losing weight. And eating better.

And I get a mailing about…pop tarts. And Entenmann’s Donuts. And Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread. And Pillsbury Rolls. And Pillsbury Pancakes. And Aunt Jemima Pancake + Waffle Mix. And Jimmy Dean Sausage Links.

Just the kind of food a growing boy like me needs…especially for marathon training!!

Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: One of the really great features of Foursquare is that you can review a list of EVERYONE who has checked-in to your store. And Foursquare provides, in most cases, the person’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Yes, you heard me right. Personal pages of REAL customers. Why not connect with them directly? Why not ask about their interests? Why not build a file of their personal food choices? Why not collect their birth dates, and send them a card with a gift coupon? Has to be cheaper than blindly mailing millions of households?

Publix probably spent ONE BILLION dollars on this mailing, and probably sent it to all the neighborhoods around this store, and undoubtedly hundreds of others throughout their many territories. And for the cost of a handful of employees empowered with the ability and time to connect with REAL online customers, they could get to know my story and create an amazing, personalized customer experience, something I would tell the world about…

Instead, I get a two-for-one Pop Tart coupon…

What ideas can you share?

35th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 35 times, without hearing so much as a peep from them. He will blog after every check-in until he gets some form of customer acknowledgment. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire six-piece series!]

Happy Memorial Day to all of you. Hope you are enjoying your day, having a nice time with friends and loved ones. And remembering those we lost in the fight for our freedom.

What did I do? Well, I went to Publix, with it seems, most everyone else in Cobb County, Georgia…

So being Memorial Day, I observed the following: 245 shopping carts around the meat for grilling section, 211 shopping carts on the beer isle, 324 shopping carts in the soda and snacks section, and 24 shopping carts in the fruit/vegetable section.

But what I thought was a cool idea was the large corn-on-the-cob section. There is a large bin full of husks of corn. You can either load up a bunch and bring with you, OR you can shuck-the-husks on the spot and just bring home corn ready to cook. Thus…

Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: Today, in honor of Memorial Day BBQs and family get-togethers, when you checked-in on Foursquare, it would have been a cool idea to notify those about a corn-on-the-cob special. Say, something like buy six husks of corn, get three FREE. I mean, nothing is as American as corn-on-the-cobb. Would have been nice to see a screen pop up on my smart phone alerting me to that special as I checked-in….

What is your cool idea for how a store like Publix can utilize an application like Foursquare?

34th Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

Using Foursquare, Todd has checked-in to his local Publix 34 times, without hearing a peep from them. He will blog after every check-in until he gets some form of acknowledgment. In the meantime, he will offer some ideas free of charge. Join the Watch!

[Read the entire series!]

Ok, so let me set the table for today’s free Publix Foursquare tip:

I went to my local Publix to get some items to help get me through the Memorial Day weekend. As I went through the check-out line, this conversation ensued:

CHECKOUT GIRL: “Hello sir, got everything you need?”

TODD: “Yes I do, thanks!”

CHECKOUT GIRL: “Just one thing of Coke,” she asked, running the 12-pack of Diet Coke over the scanner.

TODD:

TODD: “Um, yes?”

CHECKOUT GIRL: “Cuz you know, if you buy two, you get two free!”

TODD:

TODD: “Um, yeah. I don’t really need 48 cans of Diet Coke. But thanks!”

CHECKOUT GIRL: “Are you sure? Buy two, get two free!!”

TODD: “Yeah. Don’t really want to head back and run the Memorial Day crowd gauntlet and carry three additional 12-packs through the store. I’m good.”

CHECKOUT GIRL: “OK,” she said sadly. “But it was a great deal.” [Todd nodded, and then pretended to look at his Blackberry, as if he had an engaging text message to review...]

Todd’s FREE Publix Foursquare Tip: Did you know? When you offer specials on Foursquare, people receive notifications when they check-in at the store, and even when they check-in at a nearby venue! That’s right! So, in this case, when I arrived at Publix, and checked-in, I would have been notified by Foursquare that Publix was offering a “Buy Two, Get Two Free!” special. I might have actually done it, but honestly, I just didn’t feel like going back and getting the three additional cases. This is a perfect example of how you can use “Specials” notifications to your advantage!

Got any ideas for Publix to share? Let us know! And join the watch!