Amazon Gets Physical : Geo-location services and data set to enhance shopper experiences in a big way

- 26th Nov 2014


As the holiday shopping season approaches, unprecedented moves by retailers are rocking the tech industry. After winning significant market share of brick and mortar stores, the online retail giant Amazon has now turned the tables and entered the physical world. Amazon plans to open their first store in New York (rumored to be across the street from the Empire State building) plus two pop-up kiosks in major stores in San Francisco and Sacramento before the holiday season.

 So why is Amazon doing this now? Driving sales for electronic gadgets where buyers could see, touch and feel the products before buying, additional distribution channel and having a “real” presence in the “real” world seem to be the obvious reasons. However, beneath this lies  a more technology and data-driven motive. In the on-line world, retailers like Amazon already know the user’s buying patterns, interests and activities. By overlaying that with in-store interactions, they have the ability to provide a truly relevant and enhanced shopping experience.

These moves are being mimicked and applied by many main street retailers for the first time, via geo-location services. The existing loyalty card and club membership programs of retail stores were quickly becoming ineffective and failing to boost sales when the customer is in the store. Furthermore, retailers had no way of knowing which customer was in store and therefore could not apply the new customer knowledge that they had acquired through on-line experiences. Utilization of new technologies like cellular, WIFI access points and beacons is enabling the deployment of geo-location based services. This is providing a huge shot in the arm for the retail stores; real time data that can be acted upon. Personalization of  the shopper’s experience via their smartphone is now immediate; providing way-finding, product finder services, relevant recommendations and coupons, and cross-sell incentives.  What better way to engage customers and secure their undivided attention than when they are in-store with the explicit intention of browsing or buying? Combining data from social networking sites with geo-location based data can further enhance the suggestive nature of the customer interaction, in turn leading to a further boost in sales.

Location based services are changing the way people shop and even online giants can no longer afford to ignore them.

Learn more about July’s Location Based Service Product: Proximity MX

About the Author: Sushruta Singh Manager, Client Success. Sushruta has been with July Systems since 2004. She has been responsible for Program Managing many of the services delivered on the July MX platform. At July, she was also responsible for some of the large customers such as the PGA Tour, LPGA and CBS Sports.