On Oct. 1, Neiman Marcus will hide 15 Nancy Gonzalez red crocodile clutches (which retail for about $1,400) at 15 of its 41 stores, and visitors will need to check in via Foursquare to determine whether or not they are in the vicinity of a hidden clutch. Should a user be near a clutch, another message will tell them where to search for it. The first people to find the clutches get to keep them.
Shoppers that can't find clutches, or aren't in a store that has a hidden one, can still enter their name in-store to win a Nancy Gonzalez clutch. Each Neiman Marcus store will reward a single clutch at random to one selected entrant. In total, Neiman Marcus will give away 56 Nancy Gonzalez clutches.
Neiman Marcus' VP of corporate public relations Gabrielle de Papp believes the scavenger hunt will encourage customers to check into the retailer on Foursquare on a more regular basis.
We have early indications that many of our customers are eager to interact with us on Foursquare, and we intend to increase our activity on it going forward, de Papp said.
This isn't the first time a company leveraged Foursquare's platform for a scavenger hunt.
Last July, Foursquare helped Barbie tailor location-based scavenger hunts across the country as a promotion for the new Barbie Video Girl doll, which doubled as a video camera with an LCD screen and video editing software. Participants received photo, text, and video clues over Barbie's Twitter account, and participants then showed up to complete on-location tasks using Foursquare. One winner in each city received a Barbie Video Girl doll.
Foursquare assisted in a similar promotion with world-renowned footwear brand Jimmy Choo last April. Users had to carefully watch Foursquare to see if a pair of Jimmy Choo trainers checked in to various Jimmy Choo locations. Those who arrived at the venue before the trainers left could pick a pair in the style and size of their choosing.
Neiman Marcus has held scavenger hunt promotions in the past as well. This spring, in fact, Neiman Marcus teamed up with mobile gaming start-up SCVNGR for a different kind of scavenger hunt, where shoppers would have to perform tasks and take pictures of it. For example, users were asked to go to the beauty counter and snap a picture of themselves wearing a different shade of lipstick, or identify a trend and take a picture of a piece of apparel that exemplifies the trend.
After completing enough objectives, shoppers were awarded makeovers, unspecified special gifts from Neiman Marcus' customer service counter, and if enough challenges were met, participants had a chance to win a $2,500 shopping spree.
Neiman Marcus will hold the Foursquare hunt between noon and 4 p.m. throughout its stores nationwide.
Foursquare launched in New York City on March 11, 2009. The company exceeded 750 million check-ins in June, with an average of 3 million check-ins per day.