As the ability to more precisely track mobile shoppers in stores improves, it begs the question of what retailers will do with all that location knowledge.
A recent study identifies this as a breakout year for indoor technologies in retail environments, as the last year of a three-year technology adoption cycle.
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Apple’s iBeacons also are seen as a wave right behind that one, which combined will result in 30,000 indoor location installations this year, according the ABI Location Technologies study.
During the first day of a two-day seminar I’m leading in Amman, Jordan, this week, I tossed the issue of location out to the group to get their thoughts.
I asked them what they see as the inherent values in location-based tracking.
Interestingly, there were two categories or directions they considered for the potential information flow.
One was to be able to send more relevant and targeted messages to shoppers based on where they are in a store at the moment.
The other was to gather information about shoppers and to feed that information into their customer databases to be able to better track overall and specific shopping behavior.
The latter is somewhat of the approach British retailing giant Tesco is taking by using beacons for specific customer service purposes, such as notifying a customer when they arrive that items they pre-ordered are ready for pickup and sending the exact location.
The testing of beacons and sensors is still in the early stages, so which approach is most effective for which environment remains to be determined.
Retailers are starting to gain the capability to digitally tap the mobile shopper on the shoulder to let them know something.
The ultimate success may be less about being able to communicate to shoppers at exactly the right moment based on location, but rather what it is the retailer decides to communicate.
It may be less about the delivery and more about the message.