Monday, 19 October 2015

How Location-Based Mobile Apps are Revolutionizing the Retail Landscape

Gone are the days when you walked into a large retail store, headed straight for the sales section, but left empty-handed because you couldn’t find the thing you were looking for.

Emerging mobile technology and smart solutions have revolutionized the retail shopping experience, and location based mobile apps have made it easier for customers to find a retail store nearby with what they need.

Retailers have begun to grasp the idea of location-based mobile technology to their advantage and seem ready to climb onboard.

Forrester believes that, in 2015, mobile technology will transform the entire business model and “will both change the cost structure and revenue models for business.” To better understand the evolution of the retail landscape from the perspective of location based solutions, let’s first take a look at the evolution of consumer habits over the years.

Evolving Consumer Mindsets Creates New Opportunities

Today, over two-thirds of all US consumers own a smartphone and the impact of mobile technology on the retail industry is undeniable.

According to an IDC study conducted during the Christmas shopping season, 70% of respondents said they check prices on their phones, and 53% looked for deals.

Another research on the habits of mobile users reveals significant number of redeemed mobile coupons. “41% of mobile coupon users said they had redeemed coupons at the grocery store, 41% said they redeemed coupons at department stores, and 39% at clothing stores,” according to Business Insider.

With the proliferation of mobile technology in our daily lives and the widespread adoption of mobile solutions in the realm of retail sales; retailers, marketers, and service providers are at an ideal point to capitalize on the opportunity to revolutionize the classic brick-and-mortar retail shopping experience.

Reebok, the athletic goods company, has used a customized location-based mobile app to drive conversions at a pop-up store in Paris by participating in a two-day fitness event with LesMills.

The fitness center pushed a welcome message with a discount offer for the Reebok pop-up store to its app users, and as they moved around, they kept on receiving messages based on their location or interaction. A 35% conversion rate was recorded at the pop-up store that year – that equals about 350 purchases over two days.

Extra Features and Services Compel Customers to Use Apps

Realizing the massive response of customers to mobile technology, every other retailer now has a custom location based mobile app, or is in the process of developing one. Most leading retailers have begun to add various other services and functionalities into their apps to make customers want to use them on and in between visits.

Geo-Fencing and In-Venue Marketing Draws In Customers

Using Geo-fencing, a GPS technology that creates a virtual fence around your possible location, retailers are sending out opt-in text messages with current and upcoming promotions to consumers as they enter a marked area.

Coupled with location data, retailers are also leveraging business intelligence in the form of consumer buying behavior and preferences obtained from their app to streamline their marketing activities.

An in-store mobile technology senses a customer’s current location, tells the store owners who is at a particular aisle, what are they looking at and what may eventually be purchased. This helps retailers sell products the moment a consumer enters a relevant aisle. Large malls, expo centers, and even airports now provide in-venue services.

Location-based apps are creating waves in the retail industry and have affected how business is conducted. While large retailers are already using it to improve their bottom line, smaller cafes and restaurants have also started experimenting with the technology.

Are you thinking about deploying in-venue or location-based apps/services for your business? What could be the most challenging aspect of the implementation in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

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