As a technology, Location Based Services has been in use for over a decade. During early stages of its implementation, mobile operators used it to pinpoint the location of emergency callers using GPS tracking. Before long, it found uses in commercial operations for tracking packages for courier companies and for monitoring traffic movements. However, it became the new buzzword for businesses only after it found large scale application in the consumer markets with Wi-Fi and internet enabled smart phones delivering localized services to users in the form of weather updates, discounted deals at local establishments and even finding the exact location of friends.
|For local businesses, this has opened up new avenues for getting in touch with customers. Perhaps the most successful model of Location Based Services benefiting businesses and making them more profitable is Groupon, which negotiates big discounts with businesses and then sends information about these deals to subscribers who can download the coupon on to their mobile device and present it for redemption at the point of purchase. It is a win-win situation. Subscribers get incentives for announcing the deals on their page on social networking sites. As for businesses, they get increased customer traffic that results in bigger profits.
So how can a business leverage Location Based Services to its advantage?
Being at the right place at the right time is of course the first step. Getting registered on sites such as Groupon, Yelp, Gowalla or 4Square is a good idea as it ensures that the customer gets information about deals from the business directly on his mobile device in the form of a coupon or voucher. This works far better than a mere listing on a directory or in a classified ad. A local restaurant may be listed on Maps but all it means is that when a customer searches for places to eat in the neighbourhood, it shows up as one of the options. It does not guarantee selection. Registering on sites that promote location based services can make the difference by increasing the possibility of being selected.
Deals, Coupons or Vouchers
Clearly, the customer needs an incentive to choose a particular restaurant over another and this is where integrating coupons or vouchers with a listing can help. When a customer is in the neighbourhood around lunch time, he may have plenty of restaurant options but getting a coupon on his mobile device informing him of a discount if he checks in at a particular restaurant can provide the necessary incentive to get him there.
Word of Mouth
Customer recommendations are a powerful tool for drawing additional footfalls, more effective than an advertisement in the classified section or a flyer in the mailbox. Once a customer is at the location, whether it is a restaurant, clinic, art gallery or book store, the local business should capitalize on it. By offering the checked in customer incentives such as vouchers, coupons or points for recommendations to his circle of contacts, the business gets to promote its products or services subtly to a larger audience at no extra cost.
Last but certainly not the least, location based services can be used to engage the customer by offering innovative promotions based on his preferences. If a business invests resources in tracking their customersâ€™ interactions not only with their brand but with other local businesses, effective cross promotions can help increase the number of repeat customers. For instance, if a large number of customers check in to a restaurant after a visit to the cinema, then sending a restaurant coupon to a customer as soon as he enters the movie hall, is a good strategy for getting him to visit the restaurant afterwards. Similarly, a movie voucher can be offered as an incentive for recommending the restaurant.
Clearly, the possibilities are endless for using Location Based Services as a tool for promotion. Any business can use these services to give their brands much needed publicity, which will in turn generate profits through increased revenues. The best part of it is that unlike conventional media, the costs involved are almost negligible.
At TechAhead Software, we have helped several clients develop apps for Location Based Services that not only work successfully, but also use innovative techniques to keep customers engaged in the long run. If you have an idea, we can provide the technical expertise to make it a reality. For more information on how we can help your business benefit from Location Based Services, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.