Retail

The Onset of Location Intelligence and Mobile Engagement

Changing the Way Consumers and Brands Interact in Today’s Retail Marketplace

As a customer walks by a retailer on her way home from work, her smartphone vibrates. “The shoes in your online shopping cart are in-store! Stop by to see them in person!”

In this world of customization, retailers are looking for ways to better reach and engage customers to increase relevance, loyalty and sales. Simply put, now is the time for retailers and brands to understand and optimize each part of a customer’s path-to-purchase, or be left behind their competition.

While many retailers have invested significantly in enabling seamless user experiences and ways to understand behavior in the online world, many have neglected their real world locations. This disconnect and disproportional devotion of resources seems odd when considering that approximately 93% of US retailers’ sales still occur in store.

Additionally, these real world insights and engagements are the missing link in omni-channel strategies that are plagued by blind spots from brick-and-mortar location activity to the value of their OOH media buys. This means brands and retailers cannot make data-based decisions to understand, improve and optimize their most important sales channel.

According to BI Intelligence, the percentage of top 100 retailers utilizing beacons is projected to jump from 8% in 2014 to 85% in 2016. Clearly, location-based services are ramping up in retail stores based on the value these insights and engagement methods bring to brick-and-mortar locations.

Mobile represents the bridge between the digital and physical world and is becoming the most valuable tool yet for marketers, allowing them to be contextual, relevant and useful. Additionally, the shift among consumers to mobile apps is increasing. According to BI Intelligence, mobile accounted for almost two out of every three minutes spent consuming digital media. Retailers like Walmart have seen an increase in mobile users of +402% y/y by leveraging in-store coupons and saving features.

With that said, retailers as well as brands need to continue to strive to better understand and engage customers at different times in their path-to-purchase. They need to recognize consumers various real-world touch points and interactions to optimize offline and online engagements accordingly.

For today’s customers operating within this complex, multi-channeled path-to-purchase, mobile engagement and location intelligence solutions enable retailers to remove real-world blind spots in their user’s buying cycle or journey. For instance, before a consumer visits your store, you must understand their locations, know if your customer interacted with your billboards and if it resulted in them visiting the store. During a customer’s store visit, it’s important to understand how customers behave in-store, how best to optimize your store layout to provide a frictionless experience. Beacon-triggered messaging are estimated to influence $4.1 billion of in-store retail sales in 2015 and by 2016 is expected to grow 10x to $44.4 billion.

Today, mall operators too are tapping into the many benefits of location-based services via partnerships such as the recent announcement of NanoLumens and Gimbal. This strategic partnership between the industry-leading manufacturer of LED visualization solutions and the leader in location intelligence and proximity‐based mobile engagement, is creating a dynamic new series of digital solutions built utilizing Gimbal’s location-triggers. This paves the way in providing the next generation of truly interactive displays that create personalized, dynamic and data-driven engagement experiences based on who is within proximity to that asset.

For retailers and brands, location intelligence and mobile engagement solutions are one of the most important tools to consider. Clearly, the results generated by retail adopters points to the significant role these solutions play in giving retailers and brands a timely and customized way to connect with customers and further enhance their omni-channel strategy. The question is not IF but rather WHEN a retailer’s strategy will need to incorporate location intelligence and mobile engagement capabilities. We think it’s now!

This article was originally published in the January 2016 issue of The Retail Observer.

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Victor Alcone

As marketing manager, Victor is responsible for managing and creating content across Gimbal's social, web and digital channels.

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