This idea is a variation of this original idea.
This version would serve a more commercial purpose though and rely on local businesses to create value in order to help each other.
The idea is to have an app that allows you to indicate that you have visited a location by scanning a QR code at that location. Local business owners can work together to incentivise people to try and visit as many of the participating local businesses as they are able to during a given timeframe. So not only will the app be a normal directory, but it will also reward people for visiting all affiliated businesses.
For instance, if 20 businesses are registered on the app, they can reward people for visiting all 20 during a month by giving them special discounts or entering their names into a raffle for a special prize sponsored by all participating businesses.
This way, businesses will share their clientele and theoretically, everyone will benefit.
At first, I thought that it might need to be contained in a way that prevents competing businesses from participating, but I don't think that would even be necessary. Often, people tend to shop around between competing stores anyway.
Once the system is established, there are many more possibilities to push sales. Businesses can coordinate their specials to fall on the same day, creating hype around shopping and convincing people to make their purchases on that specific day, or they businesses could create joint specials, offering complimentary specials on certain products. For instance, you could pay a set amount through the app that includes a meal from a restaurant, a massage, a movie ticket and a drink at a bar for cheaper than it would have cost to pay for all those things separately.
Creating such an app as a third party would mean that you would be able to sell your product in every town. Businesses could pay a subscription fee and provide all the necessary information on their specials, and you could simply run the back end of the app.
I realize there are apps that search for specials, business directories and even check-in apps, but I haven't found anything that rewards users for visiting all the businesses. This approach effectively creates a community among local businesses and allow them to benefit from each other.