Retailers appear to be waking up to the advantages that the internet can bring them, as Westfield and the Commonwealth Bank begin to take advantage of social networking check-ins to provide customers with better value for money.
Facebook's Check In Deals was launched in Australia today, and Westfield and Commonwealth Bank have both announced initiatives around the service.
Westfield has begun a trial of Check In Deals that will see shoppers receive discounts at participating retailers. Westfield general manager of marketing John Batistich said that it would bridge the gap from the web to physical stores.
"With tools such as Facebook Check In Deals, we're now able to communicate to our shoppers in relevant and localised ways," he said.
The trial, which began today, will allow shoppers that check in at any Westfield centre to receive a 30 per cent discount at Angus & Coote or Cotton On.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank is offering free movie tickets for a year for new customers that check in at a branch and open an everyday account.
Commonwealth Bank general manager of consumer marketing, Mark Murray, thinks that the scheme is a sign of things to come.
"People already connect with each other through Facebook Places, and this is an extension of that, allowing customers to connect with our branches," he said.
Such moves could enable retailers to enhance their brick and mortar stores through technology, as online threatens to nab customers with the promise of cheap deals.
Australian retailers have recently been vocal about being undercut by overseas retailers, seeing them as a significant threat to the livelihood of their bricks and mortar stores. Retailers such as Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman, Target, House, Borders and Angus & Robertson even went as far as to launch a controversial campaign to have the $1000 goods and services tax-free threshold lowered to make sure that competing overseas retailers aren't getting an advantage.
The Productivity Commission has released its draft report into the retail sector, where it has suggested lowering it for "reasons of tax neutrality".