LevelUp and dumbing down to my level

With so much recent coverage and opinion that the bloom is off the rose of group buying and couponing I read Mike Schneider’s blog yesterday morning about LevelUp’s value proposition with interest.  I happened to be near Beacon Hill yesterday with a friend just before noon and  I knew that shopping the Haymarket on an empty stomach is not a good idea.  We stopped into The Federal where I couldn’t decide between a breakfast sandwich or lunch at 11:50am and kept looking at the two menu boards above the counter.  After placing the order I noticed the LevelUp materials and the phone on the counter.  I tried to scan the QR code on the postcard at the counter and I think it tried to call a phone number in Connecticut.  I clearly started it all wrong because I thought the big QR code would bring me somewhere to proceed.  It didn’t.  So I checked in on Foursquare and Tweeted that I couldn’t get it to launch mentioning Mike Schneider @schneidermike.  Mike responded and I also soon received a message offering help from Christian Sann @csann, The Assistant Miranda Priestly and Business Development Lead for SCVNGR’s Local Business/LevelUp Program.

Today I gave LevelUp another chance.  I downloaded the app, entered my banking information and searched for somewhere to try near my place in Harvard Square.  Boston Burger Co offered me a $4 Credit and the “Spend $100, Get $10”.  Okay, but I don’t know that place so I opened Yelp, checked reviews and made a mental note to remember that place next time I’m in Davis Square, Somerville.  I can see using LevelUp’s offers in tandem with Yelp’s reviews.  The $2 Credit offer from Falafel Corner in Harvard Square was the choice.

We went there for lunch today just around noon.  The LevelUp materials were displayed on the counter right next to larger RelayRides collateral pieces sporting similar colors, think Howard Johnson’s blue.

The lone guy behind the counter was doing his best to sling shawarma for a line that kept growing.  I had my LevelUp QR code teed up on my droid, ready for the moment of truth at the cash register and the guy looked at it, looked at me and said he’s not familiar with it.  I tried to wave my phone in front of the LevelUp phone hoping maybe a genie might appear and show us both how to make a fast and proper transaction.  He explained that it was just installed yesterday.  At least my Bank of America card worked, you know the one that doesn’t charge you $12 a month if you swear off human tellers.

There are always learning curves to apps and logistical nightmares with someone like me who thinks the QR code on the postcard will take me somewhere rather than just read the text on the card and follow directions.  I feel for the app developer, the retailer and the poor salesperson who has to convince the retailer that they won’t lose their shirts and that coupon vultures will return with the incentive of continued rewards and consistently good food.  At least I found a great new place on Beacon Hill.  I’ll try LevelUp again at some point.

What do you think?  How could LevelUp dumb-down for someone like me?  Have you ever felt awkward or silly trying to redeem an offer with your smartphone?  What are your experiences? Please share your comments.

http://www.amazon.com/Location-Based-Marketing-Dummies-Strout/dp/1118022491/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295435508&sr=8-1I also want to give a shout out to Mike Scheider and Aaron Strout on the upcoming release of their book “Location Based Marketing for Dummies“.


3 Responses to “LevelUp and dumbing down to my level”

  1. 1 estelle macdonald
    August 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Guess everything today needs a “for dummies” app but i think the real deal is the new kids on the block could learn a thing from the ‘old school’ they love to make fun of… here it goes kitz–“try to remember who is buying and who is selling'”..get that and grab your points and go to the head of the class..:)e

  2. August 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I was at a tech conference a while ago–moderating a panel on mobile applications for healthcare–and exchanged business cards with two people there. Their cards had a barcode on the back, and I asked them to show me how it worked. So the first fellow points his cell phone at his card and hits a button. He looks at his phone’s screen and says “OK, now what? Nothing’s happening.” His co-worker peers at the screen and says, “Um, I think you just took a picture of it.”

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