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Location-based marketing: The key to mobile customer engagement?

Brad Howarth | Jan. 13, 2014
We look at how geo-targeting and geolocation services are coming to the fore as marketers look to capitalise on the rise in consumer smartphone adoption, and why engagement is key to its success.

"That has to be dealt with in real time as you move into the radius of the stores," Gillespie says. "You can't do that on an app."

The old and the new
The uptake of geo-location services is also likely to be helped by a plethora of new concepts now entering the market, such as Tile, which has developed tiny devices to help consumers keep track of items such as luggage or house keys. Another example is goCatch, which enables consumers to track the actual location of an approaching taxi. Such services are further familiarising consumers with geo-location technology.

Also playing a role in the revival of geo-location services is one of the oldest mobile technologies - Wi-Fi. Vice-president of US-based ecommerce strategy firm, Acquity Group, Randy Higgins, has seen numerous mid-tier US retail clients seek Wi-Fi specific landing pages as part of a location-based strategy.

By encouraging shoppers to log on to a free in-store Wi-Fi network, Higgins says retailers can not only reach those consumers through the landing page, but also use geo-fencing technology from companies such as Digby to make offers based on where they are in the store, right down to the individual aisle. "While that creates risk around show-rooming, it gives them more control over the experience too," Higgins says. "Consumers are getting a different message based on whether they are at the counter or the point of sale."

Higgins says this strategy has delivered results for the US electronics retailer, Best Buy. "Two years ago the company was seeing massive attrition based on people going into look at a product and then buy it on Amazon," he explains. "They've seen some reversal of that, by adding value to the experience in the store as well as being able to match prices.

"So it is almost table stakes that show-rooming is going to happen, and it is up to retailers to manage the message to the customer on their device."

By having shoppers on their own network, retailers can also determine when consumers are comparing prices online, and with whom, giving them better intelligence on their competition and the ability to better match process.

Higgins says the next evolution will see integration of these campaigns into in-store digital advertising, enabling a more personalised experience that does not require the consumer looking at their mobile device.

"The potential is endless - I think we are at the tip of the iceberg," he adds.

But according to White, whether such solutions prove viable in the long term will depend much more on the quality of the offer made, rather than the technology used to make it.

"A lot of problems with location-based services have not been technology problems," he says. "They have been creating a user experience that has been most compelling for the advertiser, not the consumer. It is all about creating engaging experiences."

 

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