UPDATE: O2 has posted a list of its stores offering a free console (a PS3 or an Xbox) to the first people who check in, and buy a new phone or upgrade an existing contract! There’a also 10% off all accessories at all O2 stores, if you check in with Facebook Places and grab the Facebook Deal that shows up.

UPDATE 2: If you’re after a 20% discount on a Mazda MX-5, which is worth a whopping £4,000, you’ll need to check in at these participating dealers. Who says checking-in doesn’t pay?

Facebook Deals is hitting the UK today, which means cheapskates and bargain hunters nationwide can get discounts from shops, cafes, restaurants, just by fishing a smartphone from your pocket. To kick things off? How about a free coffee from Starbucks? Free food from Yo Sushi? Or discounts and charity donations from shops up and down the UK. Read on, and we’ll explain how to cash in on Facebook Deals.

Facebook Places rolled out to the UK last September, but Facebook Deals, announced a month later in October, was US only at launch. Now, Facebook is expanding it to Europe, with an emphasis on the UK, which gets the service first.

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Back at its US launch, Facebook Deals kicked off with a thrift-tastic Gap deal that gave away 10,000 pairs of free jeans, and we’ll be seeing some equally big Facebook Deals here too.

Walk out onto the high street today, open your smartphone’s Facebook app and give the Places logo a tap. Look for Starbucks and you’ll see a yellow voucher next to it. Tap onto the Starbucks in question, and you’ll see the option to redeem a voucher. Today, Starbucks is offering 30,000 free cups of coffee across the UK. Go get ‘em!

Passing a Yo Sushi? The first 1000 customers across the UK today get five free plates of food, and complimentary drinks. Will you head there at lunchtime? If not, how about the O2 Store? You can grab an accessory discount, and if you’re very lucky, the offer of a free PS3 or Xbox with your mobile purchase or upgrade.

That’s what Facebook is hoping. And there’s more than savings to be had. Some stores, like Argos, are offering to make a donation to charity when you check in. Others reward you for checking in with friends, bringing more custom their way. Others offer loyalty cards through Facebook Deals, so once you’ve checked in five times you’ll find a free product waiting for you.

Of course, every offer triggers a post to your Facebook wall, spreading the word to friends. As Facebook says, “it’s word of mouth marketing, done at scale.” It’s a brave new world for spendthrifts. Will you get stuck in? Or are you wary of becoming a bonafide Facebook marketing node?

  • http://twitter.com/L00NY_BIN Iain Patterson

    Its basically Foursquare but on the Facebook platform, and it being FB with all it's millions of users it is bound to be a success

    • James Holland

      Exactly! I think it'll take time, but I'm already scouring for places nearby with deals, as well as reading my news feed, whenever I get a spare minute.

  • novak84

    ok, i open the facebook app on my HTC Desire. I go to places, see 3 Starbucks on my list, not one of them has a yellow voucher next to it.

    What am i doing wrong?

    • James Holland

      Hmmm. Is it definitely updated to the latest version of the app? If not… are they 'legitimate' starbucks? (That's a question I thought I'd never ask)

    • James Holland

      Oh, and you're in the UK, right?

      • novak84

        Updated my FB app yesterday and still nothing. Oh yes i am in the uk.

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