A new automatic updating service from Foursquare lets businesses target repeat customers with news, specials, and deals.
Foursquare Local Updates let merchants send text, photos, and specials to customers who have either checked into a business several times or liked it on Foursquare.
The updates will be shown to customers when they're in the city where that business is located. The new function will begin rolling out this week.
According to Foursquare, brands including H&M, Luke's Lobster, Togo's Sandwiches, Outback Steakhouse, Northern Spy Food Company and Wolfgang Puck plan to use the updates feature. The tool is free to merchants.
Merchant updates also will appear in search results when consumers search for a place in the Foursquare mobile app or on the web.
Merchants can manage updates from the merchant dashboard, which has been redesigned to let business owners and marketers view data on individual business locations or a group of locations.
Michael Boland, an analyst for local media research firm BIA/Kelsey, said the dashboard's evolution will continue to give Foursquare a leg up on competition from Twitter and Google AdWords.
"Foursquare is faced with the challenge that many online and mobile pure plays in the local space are faced with," he said. "It has to rely on businesses signing up for and managing campaigns on their own. The challenge in the small business marketplace is that a lot of small businesses are not technically savvy or might not have the time."