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The power of location-based technology

September 10, 2012

Location is continuing to play a major role for brands and retailers’ mobile commerce efforts and companies are incorporating the technology to not only better target consumers, but increase foot traffic.

Mobile and location complement each other. When married together, the result is unlike any other.

“Mobile by design is built to be an interactive device,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast.

“As the use of mobile increases everyday, marketers have a unique opportunity to not only reach customers in real-time, but to also captivate them with creative advertising that offers them the opportunity to interact with their favorite brands. Interactivity can come in the form of MMS with images or videos that link to mobile pages, mobile contests or mini-games that lead customers to an online or offline store,” he said.

“Most importantly, marketers need to make sure that the ads are appealing to consumers by offering something useful, instead of just being annoying sales pitches.”

Driving interest
Companies such as Best Buy, Gap and Victoria’s Secret have all incorporated location-based technology into their mobile advertising campaigns to drive in-store traffic.

By integrating the technology, retailers are able to assist consumers with helping them find the nearest store location.

Although the mobile commerce space is growing at a rapid pace, consumers are still wary of making purchases through their smartphones.

Therefore, serving them a mobile ad that lets them locate the nearest store location is smart, especially for retailers.

“Location-based technology and store retailers go together like apple pie and ice cream,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism.

“Location-based services are a great way to drive in-store traffic,” he said. “We recommend that retailers keep their offers simple by utilizing things like check ins and offering a clear value to the consumer such as a valuable discount.

“We think location-based technology will move forward towards a more central place in the next year. The device platform battle between Apple, Google and Microsoft and BlackBerry will see think stimulate new innovations in location based technology.”

Moving forward
It is important for marketers to communicate to their customers and offer them some sort of incentive.

By implementing an incentive into a location-based campaign, companies are able to drive user engagement.

Additionally, privacy is still an ongoing issue.

Therefore, marketers need to make it a point to communicate to their customers that they take their digital privacy seriously.

“Custom-tailor offers to consumers with exclusive deals in real-time,” Placecast’s Mr. Goodman said. “Consumers like being part of a special club, and in our research we have found that mobile offers that were distinct and had exclusive offers were the most well received.

“Integrate CRM data and other channels – such as email – to deliver storyboarding – sequential messaging that moves a consumer down the purchase funnel,” he said. “For example, a Web or email ad that drives brand awareness, followed by an alert when the consumer is near the store.

“At the moment, the industry is saturated with new mobile wallet technology, and the consumer adoption is fairly slow. As the technology matures and offers consumers some real-world benefits, we expect that more retailers will offer card-linked offers to their customers that will be customized using consumer interest and purchase history, gender, age, location, and time of day. I also expect we’ll see much more in the way of opt-in and a use of consumer data and preferences for targeting.”

New direction
According to Charles Sankowich, CEO of Friendthem, location-based technology offers something that can benefit the customer, but it is important not to overdo it.

“Make sure it is authentic,” Mr. Sankowich said. “Customers are intelligent and quite savvy.

“They can smell and feel something that is not authentic,” he said. “Find that balance of doing what’s best for your customer and still benefit you/the retailer.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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

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