Loopt has just bolstered its LBS presence even further through the introduction of a new iPhone app dubbed “Loopt Star.” The new app is aimed squarely at check-in-based LBS startups like Foursquare and Gowalla, but takes things a few steps further.
For starters, the new app includes deep Facebook integration, meaning the days of building your connections from scratch — like on Foursquare and Gowalla — are over. With Facebook Connect for sign-in, Loopt can focus squarely on providing a killer LBS app while letting Facebook handle the heavy lifting in terms of the building the user’s social graph.
The second welcomed improvement over other services is the rewards users receive for checking in to venues. Loopt bypasses the “gaming” aspect of becoming a “mayor” or something similar and goes straight to real-world rewards that are actually valuable to users.
For example, if you check in to The Gap two times you receive an instant 25% discount, which is substantial, and gives users a true incentive to use the service. These types of offers are available from the beginning, and the company also has deals with Burger King, Stanford University, Universal Music Group and more in the pipeline.
In addition, Loopt has built a highly customizable platform for brands and retailers to utilize the service to their advantage- something Foursquare is still struggling to perfect, for example. Brands can adjust rewards based on location, time of day, which rewards go to the user’s Facebook stream and other features that could help establish a stronger connection with the user.
“Hyper-local advertising should be about much more than simply clicking on a banner ad — it should be about connecting with brands and getting rewarded for loyalty. Brands want to turn their existing customers into better ones,” said Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Loopt, in a prepared statement. “Loopt Star enables brands to create customized campaigns that reach their customers in a completely targeted, interactive way that rewards the behaviors they want.”