Location-Based & Contextual Services – New Way to Customer Loyalty

31st Oct 2014

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Mobile is no longer just a communication device nor is it just another way to get consumers to use an application, in many ways mobile now drives and provides a completely new way of reaching out to the customers and hence a new channel for loyalty and repeat business.

Companies that have embraced mobility are now using Location based and Contextual services to reshape the way business is done.  LBS and context enables innovative models of doing business thereby creating a huge competitive advantage. LBS can add tremendous value to the customers “in-location” experience; it can extend the company’s digital interactions with the consumers beyond being just an m-commerce enabler.

Take the travel or the retail industry that have a head start in launching location based mobile services that capitalizes on the consumers desire to interact (engage) with their brands via mobile while they are at a specific location.

  1. Location-based marketing: It encourages visitors to continue their relationship with the brand thereby allowing the brand to occupy real estate on their phones through the app. A specific “in-location” experience feature can be used to display special content for example as guests use the app at a hotel, it can pop up a local concierge that provides tips, a calendar of events,  a single button to call the operator, special offers and announcements that are only applicable in that location
  2. Social-driven location-based marketing: It can be used as a critical method to build relationships as well as help customers. It can enrich the social media experience and become a primary source of trusted information and insight for the loyal consumer/fan or follower. It can enhance the importance of all existing social channels through which the consumer is already connected with the brand. For example prior to its location aware app launch, a leading luxury hotel was spending a ton of money on Concierges from each of its property as they were encouraged to provide tips about places to see and things to do in the areas surrounding the hotels. With a location aware app and integrating with partners such as the Foursquare Concierge, the hotel managed to save thousands of dollars
  3. Location-based notifications: It helps businesses push tailored offers. If the customer has enabled push notifications, the app can use the phone’s GPS/WiFi to identify where they are and deliver a variety of tips, information and offers. Imagine an in-store experience where you receive a discount coupon on a specific product that you are or were just holding
  4. Location-based marketing is critical to global brand management: It allows each location to be unique.  A brand takes great pains to avoid the cookie-cutter approach to marketing and while there are certain cast-iron brand values running across, each location reflects a uniqueness. Integrating social media, scanning facilities, email marketing, push notifications and even SMS, a brand can provide unique, personalized experiences to consumers on a global scale through agile app technology.

 Location-based services for hotels/airlines/retailers is not just about using the app to locate the property, it is also about enhancing the experience while “in-location”. This is what delivers increased engagement with the brand, opening up exclusive experiences that customers expect. Encouraging mobile use in-location has also resulted in positive, real-time feedback from customers incorporating reviews, photographs and videos that make for much more compelling content for ‘first time buyers’ in the consideration phase. By linking location-based activity not just to in-location needs but also social media, companies can ensure that it targets potential customers as well as existing ones. Although the brand itself can be a globally recognized name, location-based technologies allow them to develop their own personality and make the company more than just a place to shop/stay/visit.

Experience

A recent study of a resort that offered a location specific experience showed: 

  • An increase in the total app downloads by over 85%
  • The average uninstall rate lowered significantly allowing the resort to extend the program to its other properties and locations
  • Enabled newer partnerships with location service providers
  • Improved Concierge experience with an increase consumption of special offers loaded by the resort

The key trends in LBS to watch out for are:

  • Mapping, Discovery and Infotainment
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Emergency Support and Disaster Management
  • Leisure and Social Networking
  • Location Based Advertising
  • Location Based Games and Augmented Reality
  • Tracking

The following would be the industry verticals that would be betting big on location services:

  • BFSI
  • Healthcare
  • Government and Defense
  • Retail
  • Media and Advertisement
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and Gas
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Academia and Education

And all of the above would be powered by SoLoMo (Social, Location and Mobile)- situated experiences that are powered by mobile and shared with others.

July Systems’ Wi-Fi MX platform enables business to engage visitors on their mobile devices and provide access to locally relevant services and content. Wi-Fi MX allows visitors to engage with a hyperlocal portal called the Experience Zone through WiFi or cellular networks. Each experience zone provides visitors with a menu of services and content that are specific to the business and relevant to the location or area. The portal also serves as a gateway for visitors to gain internet access over WiFi.

Learn More about our WiFi Location Based Solutions

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About Author: Rishi Bhammar is a Sr. Director at July responsible for all delivery. He has managed large deployments such as NBC Universal, CBS, ESPN, Intel and most recently Cisco. He is a wanderlust and passionate about  location based marketing services for the travel and retail industry.

Rishi has 15 years of experience in IT, spent in various account and program management roles at iGate Global Solutions, Union Bank of California and at Polaris Software Lab. As a Group Project Manager at iGATE, he was managing a portfolio of key projects for the Banking Business Unit, leading a team of 50+ people.