Last week, we reviewed Foursquare’s revamped app for consumers, but the company also recently released several updates and tools for business owners on the location-based social network. Merchants were always able to claim their store locations and offer specials to Foursquare users who checked in to those locations. The new features allow business owners to actively communicate with their customers on the platform and better measure those interactions.

Specials are still available to merchants at their claimed venues. A variety of specials are offered such as the Newbie special for customer acquisition, which offers a special reward to users checking in to the venue for the first time, and the Loyalty special, which rewards users for repeat visitation.

Updates are new to Foursquare and allow merchants to target messaging to their best customers, similar to the functionality of Twitter or Facebook. Foursquare determines a business’ best customers by how often they check in and whether they’ve liked the venue. Updates are only targeted to these customers when they are in the vicinity of a venue. Merchants can use this feature to promote upcoming events, new products, discounts, and more. Updates are limited to 160 characters including links (similar to Twitter) as well as an image, and will appear only when users view the venue page and in best customer’s “friends” feed. In addition to these free updates, business owners will soon be able to advertise via paid ‘Promoted Updates’, which launched last week with a select group of advertisers including Gap, Hilton, and Best Buy.

The updated Dashboard offers detailed statistics across an owner’s venues to help merchants better optimize the specials and updates pushed to consumers on Foursquare. Owners can view number of check-ins, people who liked venues and updates, and how many check-ins were pushed to Twitter or Facebook. Foursquare also plans to launch news feeds of a venue’s top visitors and demographics to further improve the dashboard feature.

For even more information on these new features, check out a detailed overview of Foursquare’s new merchant offerings from Mashable, including how to send an update and information on Location Pages. We’ll be keeping an eye on how businesses take advantage of these new features.