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Sports Authority distributes mobile deals via Foursquare to drive foot traffic

As an official launch partner of Foursquare version 3.0, sporting goods retailer Sports Authority is offering consumers Flash Special deals and other discount offers via the location-based mobile social network.

Each of Sports Authority’s 460-plus stores will randomly unlock the Flash Special on Foursquare one day between March 11 and April 9. The first to check-in after 11 a.m. will score a free gift card towards anything in the store, up to $500 in value.

“With all of our mobile partners, and Foursquare particularly, we are still in the pilot phase, testing and learning as we go,” said Clay Cowan, vice president of ecommerce and digital marketing at Sports Authority, Denver. “We have achieved some scale, and with the new Foursquare release we’re still testing out new capabilities to see how customers will react and compare results market to market.

“One of the nice thing about these mobile campaigns is that you can look at results across markets and in a specific market,” he said. “We’re going to try a flash sale that we’re promoting via mobile.

“We’re going to test that, as well as various in-the-moment sales and promotions.”

Sports Authority has a commerce-enabled mobile Web site and iPhone application.

In January, the retailer targeted extreme sports fans attending the X Games with a mobile-social call-to-action to support the fight against breast cancer (see story).

Tapping mobile, social to boost sales
For this Flash Special, Sports Authority is giving customers a chance to win a Sports Authority gift card—ranging in value from $20 to $500—at every store nationwide.

Each store will run on Foursquare one day over a 30-day period starting March 11.

The first customer to check-in after 11 a.m. will unlock the special and receive a gift card.

“To kick it all off, we’re having some fun down in Austin around SXSW and giving away some big gift cards,” Mr. Cowan said.

“At every store nationwide, the first person to check in at 11 a.m. will receive a gift card, but we’re not going to say which store across the chain will have the deal on which day,” he said.

The new Sports Authority Flash Special

Sports Authority has about 460 stores nationwide, so around 15 stores a day for 30 days will be having a giveaway of the gift cards ranging from $20 to $500.

The retailer is pushing the Foursquare offers through all of its other social channels to remind consumers about the promotion over the 30 days it will run.

Sports Authority previously partnered with Foursquare for a Black Friday promotion.

Black Friday is a big day for Sports Authority

“Foursquare will help us promote the different deals—we’re in its brand page and we’re launching with them at SXSW, where there is pretty big buzz,” Mr. Cowan said. “We have a very active customer base given the sporting goods category, and it tends to be pretty affluent.

“Foursquare has a young base, and we have tech adopters, and so it is a pretty nice fit for us,” he said. “We’ve had a long and successful partnership with Foursquare since Black Friday, and we are trying to crack the code.

“We’re trying to market where our customers are, and our data shows that our Web traffic via mobile devices continues to go up, and traffic via Foursqauare and shopkick continue to skyrocket.”

Final Take
Michael Strahan