Local commerce is an incredibly brilliant concept. It is, basically, bringing together the local market to the people. Let me put it this way, a man thought of trying a new restaurant a couple of blocks from his own house. He logged onto foursquare to find out which of his friends are there, then searched Yelp for reviews of the same, post which he searched Groupon for some crazy deal that he could avail at that restaurant and finally checked Facebook to see who has already availed that coupon and if he has some tips to share. This is the power of local commerce which has effectively become a combination of Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare and Groupon. Though no one social platform can provide the entire experience.
This was the scenario a little while ago. Now each one of these social channels has taken to improvising, dont misunderstand, I only mean improvise not innovate. Lets go through those one at a time:-
1. Facebook- Introduced places to allow check-ns which is visible to his/her friend list which it calls Google Places.
2. Yelp- emerged with local check-ins and offers along with crowdsourced reviews of local services.
3. Foursquare is pretty much the same with its Check-in feature
4. Groupon too sticks to its local deals for group buying.
And mind you all of this above mentioned is available on your mobile as well. and thus in the near future you will see a lot of convergence of these features and acquisitions. But what will effectively remain is the dominance or rather the choice of people to remain localised within their comfort zone.
Also, I would like to bring to your notice, that though local commerce is being considered a major potential market, Google is choosing to stay away from it. Google, will enter the market well prepared either by acquiring one of these major achievers or introducing a new product. In either case Google or any other product will not be able to lead the market unless they Innovate.