LA Times article on” gameification,” the trend to add elements of gameplay to applications.
Carl’s Jr. has just released their own check-in program for their restaurants. Rather than partner with one of the big location-based providers, they decided to roll their own. Eschewing Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places, they opted to roll out a solution which involved installing special point-of-sales software.
The benefits? For one, they own the customer relationship (and whatever data they collect). Also, they were concerned about fraud protection and efficient administration of the program. Since they are offering free menu items and other merchandise, this makes sense, and no doubt a big part of any successful deployment of such a program is tailoring the tools so that harried fast-food employees can do what they need to do, even during lunch rush. Not like you can run off to log in to the Internet to see if someone wins fries when there’s a big line of hungry people in front of you.
The mobile app part of the program, Happy Star Rewards, is available on iPhone and Android. Too bad my local Carl’s just went belly-up, I would have owned Sherman Oaks.
Prominent in the LA Times article above, SCVNGR is also profiled at GigaOM.