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Is Geolocation Technology Changing The Future Of Retail?

Geolocation technology for retail

Imagine it’s autumn and you’re driving in Michigan enjoying the colorful fall foliage. A digital billboard appears with an ad promoting an apple orchard along your scenic drive. Or it’s summer and you’re heading to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Digital billboards along your interstate route advertise golf clubs or restaurants located at your destination. They are futuristic scenarios that will likely become a reality with the rise of geolocation technology, says a post on the Business 2 Community blog.

The post describes retail’s embrace of geolocation targeting, a technology that promotes specific content according to a person’s location, demographic or other criteria. If used correctly, customers appreciate the targeted advertising of relevant products to help them in the buying process.

Both old-world and new-world companies are embracing the technology. General Motors, for example, recently received a patent for a system that displays targeted digital billboard ads according to a vehicle’s passenger demographics, destination point or seasonal travel history. Shopkick has created a mobile shopping application that sends mobile users deals or coupons for stores that are near their real-time location.

Another location-based app, aisle411, provides shoppers with a searchable store map. This is a great way to reach out to customers and point them in the right direction. Theoretically, the app could also help provide assistance for recipes, for example, by highlighting on a map all the aisles they’ll need to visit to buy the ingredients necessary to make lasagna. Also, if a regular customer walks into a store and usually buys ice cream, a notification might pop up on the customer’s smartphone about a sale or a special offer.

Also, think about a mobile loyalty program that could be set up to send a special offer to a member when they are within a one-mile radius of one of your store locations. It just may be the incentive they need to make that extra stop.

Geolocation targeting certainly is the wave of the future, especially among big retailers. But to be successful, they’ll need two important factors: software that allows them to track customer information and a process to identify customers. Retailers need a system to capture the information in order to reach this futuristic level of customer service. Then, they must be able to attach transactions to a customer. That’s the only way to know that a customer regularly buys tomato sauce or a specific clothing brand, for instance.

From an ERP standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense for each individual store to stand on its own with this type of technology. That would be cost-prohibitive for most retailers. Instead, they could use a central system that is in tightly integrated communication with all the stores.

Source: Business 2 Community, May 2013