The Facebook Deals service has been launched in the United Kingdom, allowing consumers to check in on Facebook from their mobile phone to claim special offers, rewards and discounts from high street brands. This article is copyright 2011 The Best Customer Guide.

Part of Facebook Places, Facebook Deals helps users find offers in their local area using their mobile phone, and to find money-saving tips from their friends through their News Feed. The service also allows consumers to share the offers and rewards with their friends network via their Facebook profile.

For example, users passing a Starbucks coffee shop have already been given the option to check in and claim a free filter coffee, while those visiting a Debenhams store on on 14th February can check in to claim a free 'Benefit' beauty makeover. And 'Usher' fans heading for the O2 Arena in London for the OMG tour were given 20% off Usher's latest album and a free remix from the official merchandise stand at the arena.

Following the launch in the US in November 2010, Facebook Deals has now launched in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Finding nearby deals has been made easy. After checking in using the Facebook mobile web site or app, a list of nearby places appears showing yellow tickets next to places that are currently offering deals.

Touching or clicking on any ticket will show the details of the deal on offer, ready to be claimed. The user then shows their phone to the shop assistant or waiter to redeem the Deal.

There are several different types of deal on offer:

  • Individual Deals offer a one-time discount, free merchandise or other reward;
  • Friend Deals offer deals that the user and their friends can claim when they check-in together;
  • Loyalty Deals reward users for being a frequent customer;
  • Charity Deals allow businesses to donate to a particular cause when customers check in.

Those checking in via Facebook over the next few weeks will be able to find launch offers from Argos, Alton Towers Resort, Benetton, Mazda, O2, and YO! Sushi.

Full details of each launch offer (including the terms of each deal) can be found on each of the participating brands' Facebook Pages. For example:

  • Alton Towers Resort
    On Friday 18th February, the Alton Towers Theme Park will open a day earlier than planned for the Half Term holiday, offering exclusive use for anyone who checks in on that day only. Tag up to 3 friends for free entry and the first 100 people to check in will also receive a free one night stay in one of the themed Resort Hotels.
  • Argos
    From 31st January, Argos donated £1 to its national charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust for the first 10,000 customers that checked-in at an Argos store during the week.
  • Benetton
    Benetton has chosen a Charity Deal to support Architecture for Humanity, an association which applies design and architecture to social projects. From 31st January 2011 and throughout February, Benetton will donate £2 or 2 Euros for each smartphone check-in at any of the 3,000 Benetton stores involved in the scheme in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
  • Debenhams
    On 14th February, Debenhams and Benefit are giving away over 1,000 free mascaras and makeovers for the first 10 check-ins at each Benefit counter at Debenhams stores across the UK.
  • Mazda
    From 31st January to 7th March 2011, Mazda is offering the chance to win 1 of 5 Mazda MX-5 Miyako's for the summer! Mazda is also offering the exclusive opportunity to buy an MX-5 with 20% discount.
  • O2
    From 31st January onward, O2 is offering 10% off all accessories, including gaming kit, in all stores. On Saturday 5th February, the first four customers received a free XBox 360 in 26 stores, and the first 2 customers received a free Playstation 3 in 18 stores (when bought with any new or upgrade mobile consumer contract).
  • Starbucks
    From Monday 31st January, the first 30,000 customers who checked in to participating stores received a free tall filter coffee. Customers can also get a free piece of cake with the purchase of two drinks at participating stores on any Saturday throughout February.
  • YO! Sushi
    From 31st January, YO! Sushi is giving away 2,000 meals to the value of £60,000. The first 1,000 diners to check in at any of their 47 participating restaurants, tag their friend and show a member of staff their phone screen with the confirmation message, received free food and drink.

According to Joanna Shields, vice president (EMEA) for Facebook, "Everybody loves a bargain, so whether they're looking for special offers at their favourite restaurants, or money-saving tips from fashionista friends, Facebook Deals can help."