Facebook launches Deals in Canada

The new service allows retailers to offer mobile coupons to customers who check in at their location. Chapters Indigo, Telus and H&M are on board for beta release.

Mobile couponing officially hit the mainstream on Monday with the launch of Facebook Deals.

The new service, launched in Canada this morning, offers retailers the opportunity to attach mobile couponing to their claimed Facebook Places location.

When a smartphone user activates Places on their phone, a list of nearby registered locations appears. A yellow coupon icon next the place name indicates whether that vendor is offering a coupon or not. Once the user checks in to that location, they can see the details of the deal, click through and show the screen to the cashier. The cashier then redeems the deal.

Facebook Canada announced 11 partners for today’s launching, including Chapters Indigo, Telus, Dynamite/Garage, Kiehl’s, H&M and Joe Fresh. The deals range from 40% off a regular priced book at Chapters to a free lounge upgrade at Pearson International Airport.

Each deal corresponds with one of the four types being offered by Facebook: ‘individual,’ in which a single promotion is offered to new or existing customers (i.e. 40% off a new product), a ‘friend’ deal that requires more than one person to check in at a time, a ‘loyalty’ deal that is activated after a certain number of check-ins and a ‘charity’ deal for donations.

When the user checks in, or activates a deal, that activity is posted to their news feed unless the user’s privacy settings are set otherwise.

The goal of Deals was to offer retailers the opportunity to drive more foot traffic directly into stores (because a user has to be in the store to activate the deal), and to more accurately track the response to offers, Facebook Canada spokesperson Elmer Satto said during a press event Monday.

‘We know that the best type of word-of-mouth comes from friends. We believe that conversation will drive retail foot traffic from the stores.’

Three of the retail spokespeople present at the event indicated their locations would be promoting the deal in-store, including Kiehl’s, Joe Fresh and Telus. The other retailers would primarily be focusing on Facebook promotion and employee education.

Facebook Deals was launched in the US six weeks ago with 20 retail partners on board. Although Satto declined to share the data generated since the launch, he said that retailers saw a lift in the number of check-ins during and after the deal.

Satto said during the event that there are over a million active Facebook Places users in Canada, active meaning the person has checked in to a location during the last 30 days. Facebook Places launched in Canada in September 2010.