Smartphones have grown increasingly more sophisticated in recent years, allowing consumers to do everything from buying a new outfit to watching their favorite TV shows. It's clear mobile technology will only continue its gradual domination of the technology landscape in 2015, with consumers moving toward mobile over PC.
Marketers have already shifted focus to reaching consumers on the devices they use every day. In 2015 this will become more important than ever, according to Julie Ask of Forrester Research. Location-based marketing is one of a few major focal points for marketers in 2015. Using technology built into today's mobile devices, marketers are finding innovative ways to reach out to customers. Here are 10 ways location-based marketing will shape business in 2015.
1. The Era of Mobile Ordering Will Begin
Starbucks has already announced plans to roll out its new ordering app nationwide in 2015. The app relies on a customer's proximity to a store to allow customers to place orders and pay by mobile device. Once the order has been placed, baristas begin filling it, saving customers from having to wait in line. This takes tabletop ordering away from installed tablets and onto devices customers use every day.
2. Stores Will Push Coupons
In its report on location-based marketing, Cisco noted that coupons are currently the most popular application of this marketing technique. When surveyed, more than half of customers say they would use coupons if sent to them as they were near the store in question. Widespread adoption has been slow so far, but 2015 will be the year businesses get the technology necessary to make location-based couponing a reality.
3. Savvy Businesses Will Target Nearby Customers
Holding a big event? Imagine being able to locate any opted-in customers nearby, then pushing a notification to all of them at once. Businesses will learn how to incorporate this technology into their apps, including those designed specifically for conferences and major events.
4. Facebook Places Will Take On Foursquare
Facebook's new Places Directory poses a serious threat to local-centric sites like FourSquare, promising to let users more easily locate nearby friends and learn about places. While on vacation, a Facebook user could use the directory to find places previously visited by friends and even pull up friend recommendations for an area.
5. Location Will Inform Notifications
Thanks to built-in GPS capabilities, phones now have the ability to determine a user's location. In 2015, businesses will learn to use this to reach customers through notifications. A bar could inform all customers that drinks are now two for the price of one, for instance, or an airline could send alert that a flight has been delayed. This same feature could blast out a notification that all products in a store are 10-percent off until a set time.
6. Navigation Will Become More Sophisticated
Navigation is the most popular use of a phone's GPS technology and in 2015, marketers will find more ways to use it to their advantage; monetization opportunities are wrapped up in the navigation services used by businesses across the world. In 2015, businesses will learn to scour various navigation apps to ensure their locations are displaying prominently, especially with popular services like Google Maps and GPS databases.
7. The Line Between Tech and Reality Will Continue to Blur
With the emergence of wearable technology like smart watches and Google Glass, 2015 will be the year businesses realize the importance of location-based notification. This is especially true of Google Glass, which has the ability to point out points of interests along the way as wearers walk down the street. Businesses will learn to use Google Glass's accessibility to their advantage.
8. The Internet of Things Will Change the Landscape
With the Internet of Things, everything from a user's toaster to thermostat will be connected to the Internet. This gives businesses a great opportunity to customize the user experience to his location. By being context aware, devices can provide weather alerts, automatically adjust based on local utility suggestions, and more. The home of the future will likely be based on context awareness, with smart devices able to know homeowner preferences and adjust them by voice command.
9. Delivery Services Will Thrive
Services like Uber already utilize location to determine nearby drivers and send alerts about pickup requests. Uber and others are finding ways to turn this technology into convenience-based delivery services. In 2015, companies will realize the advantages of using location technology to locate the closest server provider to give customers faster service.
10. Privacy Concerns May Increase
As this technology becomes more prevalent, consumer concerns will likely arise, as well. One experiment by Nordstrom failed miserably when customers learned their smartphones had been used to track their in-store behavior. The company ended the tactic immediately, but the entire incident highlighted customer privacy concerns. Despite the fact that online shopping patterns are tracked daily, customers still feel uncomfortable being "watched." Yet nearly half of shoppers want mobile coupons from retailers while nearby. This highlights the confusion that surrounds context-aware technology, which shows the importance of educating consumers on how it works and how the information will be used.
With the majority of Americans now owning smartphones, retailers have a prime opportunity to connect with those consumers. As consumers gradually become more interested in their locations being used to improve their experiences, location awareness will be critical for any mobile device. Retailers that can learn to use it to their advantage will gain an edge over competitors, who will also begin to find ways to connect with customers based on where they are at the moment.
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