Who Will Be Crowned the King of Local Commerce?

Four businesses have the ability, knowledge and promise to be the future of Local Commerce but which one will be the first to combine the perfect characteristics with the correct on-the-ground salesforce? Let’s look at the facts…

Facebook is the first and perhaps the most well known contender and has just been valued by SecondMarket at an enormous sum of $ 30 billion. Facebook provides the Social Graph which is proving effective for the online Social Network Community. The second contender was created in 2009 and goes by the name of Foursquare.

Foursquare is a programme which provides location services and check-ins, along with a gaming system that stimulates users to unlock badges, earn mayorships, and obtain discounts at local stores, all within a click of a button!! For a programme that has only been in operation for a year, it has already shown some promising figures. Foursquare raised $ 20 million at a post-money valuation of $ 115 million while still at a pre-revenue stage. If this isn’t the future of Local Commerce then I don’t know what is!!!!

Yelp is the third commerce that has proved successful since its establishment in 2004. Yelp provides users Crowdsourced reviews of local businesses and has recently launched check-ins and offers similar to Foursquare. Yelp has just been sold to Google for $ 550 million!

Groupon is the fourth and final commerce that could have the ability to disrupt multiple trillion dollar businesses. Groupon was launched in late 2008 and has been a success ever since; raising $ 135 million at a massive $ 1.35 billion valuation. Groupon provides discounted offers against an agreement to increase sales and bring in brand new customers to local businesses.

The future of Local Commerce will depend on the ability to combine all four of these businesses into one. We can all hazard a guess at which commerce will be the first to establish their potential however; it isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of time and money to establish your place in the industry and when you’re competing with a business as popular as, let’s say; Facebook, you have to be original – this is where the problems appear!

Recently, Facebook unveiled Places, a mobile geo-location service that is a copycat version of its competitor; Foursquare (local check-ins). Yelp has also taken inspiration from its rival and added check-ins and ‘Yelp Deals’ which is a carbon copy of Groupon. As I mentioned previously, originality is essential for growing you business, you need to provide something that no other company has in their line of ventures.

As well as having similarities, these four companies also have some very noticeable differences. Facebook places does not have the gaming technicalities that Foursquare possesses. Foursquare has failed to show the same amount of discounted offers as Groupon or Yelp and both Groupon & Yelp lack the Social graph that is needed to achieve more users.

In conclusion, the most likely commerce to break free from the rest, in my opinion would be Facebook, simply because of the huge amount of users that it currently obtains, along with a large advertising sales department which is able to reach out to local and worldwide businesses. The waiting game has begun…

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