Facebook Places and Free Gap Jeans: The First Experiment

Facebook Places announced Facebook deals earlier this week, and they just started their first big promotion: the first 10,000 people to check-in to Gap stores across the US today will get a free pair of jeans. I decided to scope it out and chronicle my account:

  • 9:20am: Get off the bus at Market and 3rd Street. I’m here early, so I might as well take the walk to Post and see the line at the Gap.
  • 9:30am: Only 5 people in line right now, might as well stay for my free pair of jeans! Also, my first Facebook check-in ever, thanks to the new Facebook Android app. Is it funny that I also checked in on Foursquare?
  • 9:50am: About 20 people in line now. Mostly women in their mid 20s to 40s. Everyone looking at their phones or making small talk.
  • 9:58am: Gap employee tells us the first 25 people who show their check-in at the register get a free pair of jeans ($59.50 or less). You mean we don’t get a coupon when we walk in? Girls get their game faces on.
  • 10:00am: As the third person in the door I headed up the stairs leading the pack to the 2nd floor. I had some pep inmy step, but I could hear the girls gaining on me from behind. Luckily I knew what I wanted and found my exact favorite jeans. And I can exchange them later if I want. I was probably sale #10, and galavanted back down the stairs. As I left the store I saw a girl briskly walking down the street, frantically trying to check-in on Facebook.

Gap played its cards right with the Facebook places promo. There was’t a long line, but the free jeans were gone in a second and people were still in the store, probably willing to make a purchase. I was actually surprised at the lack of people considering this is San Francisco. The beauty of the promotion is people will keep coming all day long to receive a 40% discount on one item. Good deal for the customer, great deal for Gap. It will be interesting to see the numbers at the end of the day.

Why is Facebook places important in this equation? I just shared my check in with my 800 friends who now might become a fan of Gap. The viral facebook cycle begins. This will also train people to checkin in to find deals. Who doesn’t want a free pair of jeans? One problem that I see is that you can like the Gap fan page, and the Gap physical store. When I check in I only see the physical store, and there is no link to the Fan Page. Gap is missing a big opportunity to get more fans to opt in to updates.

Who will use the Facebook deals?  I see it being exactly who was there today – women in their 20s to 40s. Many tend to have a smartphone, check Facebook from their phone, and can’t say no to a good deal. Heck, I barely consider myself a girl and I hate shopping, but I went early to get something free (but Gap jeans are my favorite).

Do you use Facebook Places? Will you use it more now because of the deals? Remember, to get the deal, it has to post to your wall. Is that an invasion of privacy or is it worth adding to your feed?

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