5 Realities About Mobile In-Store Customers

6 May 14

The Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) released its 2014 Mobile Consumer Benchmarks reports last week. According to the sponsors, in-store customers are local, social and mobile.

The indoor location and place-based marketing is a fast-growing segment that could be worth more than $10 billion annually in the US by 2018*. As a result, the technologies that bring Internet-style tracking to physical spaces will soon change the way retailers, venue owners, manufacturers and brands think about operations, place-based marketing and the customer experience.

The LBMA reports four key findings:

1. Unstructured data is growing. More than 99 percent of total customer feedback is unstructured data for the average merchant. Much of that comes from social networks such as Instagram, Foursquare and Facebook.

2. More in-store photos are creating a need for analysis. After all, about 67 percent of photos posted to the Internet have an associated location.

3. Companies and brands are still missing local mobile customer feedback. Leading customer experience systems are not designed to listen to the in-store consumer.

4. Mobile consumer channels are growing and fragmented. A typical retail location, for instance, has on average 11 local channels capturing customer experiences and feedback. For merchants with multiple locations, this landscape is unmanageable without technology.

I would add a further reality:

 5. Harnessing the mobile in-store customer will be impossible without live, real-time and most importantly ‘intelligent’ data distribution. Location-based services create a huge amount of data, and most organizations will do well to avoid clogging up their networks and bandwidth by moving all of it between their servers and in-store customers’ devices. To do so is expensive, slow and limits scale and potential.

Retailers need to introduce ‘intelligence’ to their mobile customer services; maximizing their mobile data distribution system for scale, whilst ensuring consistent delivery, guaranteed responsiveness, timeliness and relevance by avoiding the distribution of soon-to-be-stale data. This is particularly significant where clients or servers are running near to saturation based on limited available connectivity.

* New report from San Francisco-based, IT industry analyst firm, Opus Research.

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