Facebook are trialing an app that allows users to collect and redeem rewards when they make a purchase at participating stores. The latest feature, discovered by the pros at TechCrunch means that users can scan a  personalized QR code to get certain bonuses and discounted deals all when they shop in person. This is an interesting move back towards the physical high street. Some users, according to the report are already seeing a ‘rewards’ feature in the Facebook mobile application.

This seems to be both a drive to keep people on Facebook and checking in regularly, but also as a way to get people into physical stores. For Facebook, this attracts merchants of all shapes and sizes, and means they have another revenue stream. For users, they get digital benefits with the experience of shopping.

The data that hold it all together will certainly be interesting and of course, anything that ties digital ROI to an in person experience and that manages to close the loop is great news for everyone, especially marketers. Any business offering this will mean that data as a whole is improved, meaning everyone’s advert reach has a greater chance of success. In other words, it’s almost altruistic.

Tech Crunch have suggested that “Rewards seems more positioned as a loyalty program. Instead of the offer having a code to scan, Rewards assigns the user a single personal QR code they can scan everywhere. People could potentially scan their code every time they come to a shop, like building up stamps for a free sandwich on a loyalty program card.

Because Facebook Rewards lives in your phone in an app everyone already has rather than a loseable card or a new app you must download, it could compete with Belly, LevelUp, Punchcard and other apps. We’ll see if Facebook gets good enough results from this test to more widely roll-out and promote Rewards. But it’s another unsettling moment where loyalty startups might suddenly find themselves in the path of the big blue steamroller.”

What are your thoughts?