There’s no doubt we are drowning in content. It fills our inboxes and a specific search can lead us all into an abyss of content as one piece leads to more and more interesting topics. And even if we escape, retargeting is at every turn, tempting us to fall down the content rabbit hole once again.
Foursquare check-ins promised location-based content; yet it never really delivered on the promises it made to consumers despite its gamification platform and people craving “mayorships.” QR codes sparked early interest by consumers but never did really get the adoption marketers had hoped for.
But, will near-field technology and increasing adoption of mobile devices finally deliver location-based content? I know I shop with my smartphone in hand as do a reported 84% of smartphone shoppers, according to a study by Google and M/A/R/C Research. Add to this the rapid adoption of Beacon technology by major retailers and we might have the beginnings of content on demand, which could totally transform the shopping experience. The only obstacles are getting consumers to see the value and turn on the beacons, and for retailers to not barrage shoppers with ads, but instead provide useful content and information.
So what would I wish for with location-based content?
>>Bye, bye loyalty cards
Nearly any location you can make a purchase or “check in” at (gyms, grocery stores, frozen yogurt shops, etc.) has a chipper sales clerk or front desk attendant asking if you want a “loyalty card”. The idea of being able to rack up discounts and prizes in exchange for frequenting your favorite stores and workout spots is great in theory. In reality, shoppers rarely use their loyalty cards when in-store and they take up valuable wallet and keychain space. Location-based content should eliminate the need for loyalty cards by “checking in” a customer when they walk in the store and keep track of things for them.
>>No more searching for items
Nothing is more frustrating then trying to track down a store clerk or wandering the aisles trying to locate an item. Location-based content should feature a real-time product list or inventory that helps customers avoid going into stores only to find the item they wanted was sold out or not carried at the store to begin with. This is a feature that would truly keep customers coming to stores time and time again, knowing they will find exactly what they are looking for.
Savvy shoppers crave information. Mothers want the best bang for their buck without suffering for quality. Having an accessible database of information, including product reviews and in-store specific options, right on my mobile phone to employ while shopping would keep me from going home to look up and buy a product online.
>>Offers at my fingertips
Few people have time to read print newspapers, let alone scavenge for coupons within them. Having coupons and offers beamed to my mobile phone that are timely and relevant to what I’m shopping for will save me both time and money. If I am considering buying a product, I’ll be that much more likely to put it in my basket if I have a discount on my phone.
>>Speed up check out process
Walmart is infamous for its long checkout times. Getting stuck in line behind someone with a stack of paper coupons to give to the checkout clerk is a fate I wish on very few. Having all the coupons and offers I wish to use racked up on my mobile device that the clerk can obtain with one swipe will shave off unnecessary minutes spent in-store for all customers, bettering customer service and clerk checkout times at the same time.
Content and information that is catered specifically to what I am shopping for and where I am conducting my shopping will make the overall experience superior, tenfold. If retailers can strike the right balance of information flow and relevant content, location-based content could enhance –and change– the entire function of shopping. Game on.