Thoughts On Location-Based Services

As mobile phones and other devices become more “location aware”, marketers are starting to wrap their heads around this new information about their consumers. I think this presents a huge opportunity to all brands, but most importantly, to those that are trying to improve their customer service/satisfaction reputations.

For example, let’s say you’re a big box retailer that needs to enhance its physical shopping experience. It’s tempting to shortcut the experience by immediately dangling an offer in front of them. The problem is, you don’t know what and who they’re shopping for. Also, you don’t know if they’re a repeat visitor. That rush to the offer alone will really damage any customer loyalty program when you lower the bar too far.

You might say, “So what. I don’t care who* the product is for. I just want to move it off the shelf.”

A lack of understanding of your customer makes you look desperate. Why not just extend the “check-in” range to the entire parking lot and, rather than mobile coupons, just stand on the sidewalk and throw money at people as they drive by? You wouldn’t do that, now, would you? I didn’t think so.

Instead of throwing cash at random people, try to create a content layer on top of the store experience. This content layer can help them make better decisions. Help them declare interest in a product and then build on that information. Help them get answers to their questions without having to run all over your massive store looking for someone with a certain colored shirt. Help them see the benefit of being in a reward program that encourages them to identify themselves via their mobile device). You could go so far as to offer assistance with the simple things by pointing out where the bathroom is in the 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse. Or, tell them the restrooms are equipped with a child changing station. Those things would be possible if your reward program could call those things out in advance. The content layer can be so much more than just a product wiki. Your brand personality is capable of being expressed in many situations outside of catchy taglines and talking animals on tv.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people use their mobile phones in a big box store (not holding it to their heads) and the first thing an in-person sales associate does is interrupt them. They try to get them off the phone and verbally reveal what they’re thinking. Usually, those sales associates get blown off and the customer walks away upset.

By making a mobile app location aware in a more robust way, you’re more likely to make that sale and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.