Currys check-in checked out

Posted on June 6, 2012

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I needed a new mouse. I figured it’s something I should touch before I buy. So I decided to go to my neighbourhood Currys. You know, a shop – with walls and stuff.

Not only is it close by – the retail scene, as any rioter will tell you, is one of the advantages of my tiny corner of south-west London – but I noticed Quidco had recently started doing a check-in app and one of the featured chains was Currys. (DSG’s PC World is also included.)

So being in “thrifty start-up mode” still I figured 20% off was worth having, especially as I’d probably be paying more than if I’d just gone to Amazon (again).

I chose a slightly more expensive mouse because I knew I’d be getting a discount. (Another post on the psychology of shopping with discounts is probably needed – though by someone who knows what they’re talking about.) My Quidco 20% off would save me a whopping £7. Woohoo.

And then I got to checkout.

A bit of context here, if I may. The culture of check-ins has boomed in recent years, driven by things like Foursquare and more mainstream platforms such as Facebook and, ahem, Google+.

Some people have done this for little reason, mainly as a bit of fun with friends, maybe for bragging rights.

Other services – I’ve used Vouchercloud but there are many more – offer discount vouchers to be used when in a certain shop or restaurant. They’re typically within an app and visible on a smart-phone’s screen, so someone serving you can scan a barcode, QR code or enter a number.

So this stuff isn’t new.

When I showed the numerical code from Quidco, that I should point out even lists the address of the specific Currys I was visiting (different store locations can have different offers), I was met with blank looks.

A manager was called over. Upon seeing a mobile phone screen he proclaimed: “No, this is for online.”

I pointed out the physical address mentioned, how codes are entered by those working in a shop.

“If Frankie and Benny’s get this THEN WHY DON’T YOU?” I shouted. Almost.

Eventually the code re-re-entered and worked. I got my discount. I took a breath.

Interestingly, as well as this sort of thing clearly needing time to bed in, even at shops where you’d hope assistants are more tech-aware, another aspect of the app didn’t work.

I tried to use a ‘Check in to earn £0.20’ feature. (I  promise this wasn’t so much to do with any “start-up mode” nonsense – and I realise that given how much a venue or platform might benefit from this data a motive such as ‘having fun’ trumps £0.20 every time.)

With GPS turned on, somewhat optimistically, I thought something would happen. But no. I got a “Sorry, you must be inside the store to check in” message. I had been. So I took a stride outside, for the GPS, and I got the same thing.

Like I said – teething problems.

And the mouse? I exchanged it a couple of days later.

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

Need to know about events? Buy Tony’s e-book, Everything In Moderation: How to chair, moderate and otherwise lead events, from Amazon.co.uk.

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