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Brands need to embrace mobile to get consumers in-store: panelists

November 18, 2010

whereLOS ANGELES – Companies need to embrace mobile in their loyalty and retail initiatives and use location-based services to engage consumers and get them in-store, per panelists at the Mobile Marketing Forum.

According to panelists at the “Loyalty & Retail” session, companies should be where their consumers are. The panel was moderated by Diane Strahan, vice president of mobile services at Neustar.

“It’s interesting, location is the utmost important data point to think about,” said Scott Hendrickson, New York. “The Where app does it well. We’re actively gathering data, allowing users to participate.

“What we’re looking for is to drive hyper-local commerce and drive people in-store,” he said. “It’s hard to get scale there, how do you make that meaningful?

“There just isn’t scale there yet – about a year ago we started working with third-party publishers where we aggregate data together and serve back ads with scale.”

Where in mobile
Where is currently working with Pandora, CBS, NBC and serving ads based on that location data.

Whether consumers are in small towns or big cities, the company is taking advantage of its location-based services and targeting consumers with banner messages to drive them to a specific retail close to them.

“We’ve had some great success working with McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts,” Mr. Hendrickson said. “We’re actively looking to drive direct redemption – we’re looking to close the loop.

“We have great relevancy,” he said. “Now, we’re going to be able to close the loop and drive transactions via the mobile device.

User interaction
Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy said that it comes down to a special thing.

“If you look at the bar code as a UPC, the interaction model is far more than what people are looking to drive activity and drive experience.”

Mobile bar codes lets allows for much more trackability, per Mr. Wehrs.

“It becomes a means where you can engage that that customer in ways that you could not before – it’s how you track all of those piece together,” Mr. Wehrs said.

“How do you create a means where it’s not just an advantage for the consumer,” he said. “Scanning technology does have this interesting component to it.

“If you can take that text count to zero, you can get into the actual commerce associated with it.”

Mr. Wehrs said retailers and brands can do a lot with mobile, especially with 2D bar codes.

“Imagine you’re in a store and you scan a turkey – there’s a code on it and after consumers scan it they get three options,” Mr. Wehrs said. “One, you can get something back that says that in aisle three there’s a special wine that goes well with the turkey.

“Press two to get recipes to let you make a special meal with the turkey or press three to see leftover things that you can do with the turkey,” he said. “Imagine that.”

Although many companies are not jumping onto the mobile bandwagon just yet, Patrick Flanagan, vice president of digital strategy at Simon Brand Ventures, Indianapolis, IN sees that changing.

“There are some very large players entering that space in the next couple of months,” Mr. Flanagan said. “We’re definitely going to be involved in that too.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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