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Location-Aware Apps Will Change The Retail Experience

Mobile devices have revolutionised the shopping experience, but brick-and-mortar stores are still the prominent force in driving sales. Retailers are using location-based marketing techniques to optimise their in-store experiences with the most significant enhancements from location-aware technology. From driving foot traffic, to working as virtual shopping assistants, to offering exclusive access to coupons and other special deals, cutting-edge retailers are coming up with innovative techniques to augment consumer experiences and more fully engage their mobile consumers.

Beyond Finding Local Businesses

In today’s competitive market, businesses and retailers are looking to go beyond the location-based apps that offer an easy way for customers to find them. Apps such as Foursquare and Yelp can increase the amount of local foot traffic retail stores receive, since mobile device users can not only search for local products but also read reviews, find pricing, and even compare nearby shops. But there is much more “in store” for location-based marketing…

The Next Evolution: Beacon Technology

With the advent of beacons, which are Bluetooth-powered sensors placed throughout stores, consumers may now receive notifications the minute they walk into an establishment, welcoming them back and alerting them to store sales and even the location of particular items. One example of this new technology in use is Motorola’s comprehensive mobile marketing platform Mpact, which uses beacon technology to deliver location-specific information, including current deals and coupons. “We believe this is going to become not only an absolutely critical part of retailers’ way of interacting with you. In fact they have to give you all of the best benefits that you’re used to getting from an Amazon environment if they want to be able to compete.” said Barry Issberner, marketing director for enterprise solutions at Motorola Solutions in a recent article.

Apple is another major player with iBeacon; an inexpensive, small piece of hardware that utilises low-energy Bluetooth signals to monitor user activity and send messages or prompts to consumer smartphones or tablets. The technology is more precise than Wi-Fi or cell-tower based alternatives and doesn’t require the close range of current near field communications (NFC) technology. It has a range of between 10 and 130 feet and won’t lose service just because a person walks into another retail store or establishment. iBeacon also messages the consumer about pertinent product information relevant to their shopping location, and can offer immediate purchasing ability right through the phone. Product information could include video, interactive coupons, and shopper recommendations, all specific to the particular user.

Location-Aware Apps Will Change the Retail Experience

Beacons will undoubtedly have a major impact on consumer shopping habits and how they interact with brands apps this year and beyond. With beacons, which will be affordable for any retail location both small and large, retailers with mobile applications will have the ability to create their own branded, location-aware, geo-fencing marketing campaigns. By using location-based apps like Yelp and Foursquare and their own native apps to draw consumers into the store, incentivise additional purchasing, offer interactive digital content associated with everything offered in the physical location, beacon technology is set to completely alter the product supply chain as well as provide extensive analytics that can track both inventory and customer behavior.

[This article originally appeared on Phunware.com who offer a free Mobile Retail Guide]

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