1. Geo-Targeted Push Notifications
Back in 2010, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked about how the future of mobile would be autonomous and serendipitous. That is, mobile devices would present users with information about the world around them in an automatic way. In Schmidt’s example, as he walked around a particularly storied neighborhood of San Francisco, an app would passively display information about the history of places he passed. But the technology has become a reality, and a boon to business. Here are some ways businesses could use geo-targeted push notifications.
- A band on tour could notify fans in a particular city that tickets there are nearly sold out or remind concert-goers to show up early so they don’t miss the opening act
- A national chain could easily send city- or region-specific notifications about special offers based on what users in that area are interested in
- A restaurant could boost loyalty by sending a special offer to customers who had been in the past year but not in the last two months
- A store could announce a sale on umbrellas coupled with a weather alert to nearby users when it’s predicted to rain soon
2. Additional Sales Opportunities
One of the single biggest opportunities for businesses to leverage mobile apps is that smartphones have opened a whole new world of shopping and engagement opportunities. Interactions between customers and businesses have grown to become geo-agnostic. The morning commute, waiting in line for movie tickets and sitting in a doctor’s office are all places people could be using their smartphones to shop your store or engage with your brand.
These pockets of free time that were previously biased toward reading, can now be used by consumers for so much more. A mobile app maximizes opportunities for reaching users in these new pockets of time. A push notification might remind users of a nearly abandoned shopping cart, bringing them back into the shopping experience. A more seamless experience of stored login and billing information means an easier path to transact.
3. Geo-Targeted Advertising
The classic targeted ad story goes something like this: A potential homeowner is stuck in traffic on his daily commute home and looks out his window to read a sign on a new housing development that says, “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.”
Now multiply that times a billion and you’ve got the power of modern, smartphone-powered targeted advertising. These smart ads can target users by their specific location, displaying ads that are geographic and contextually optimized. Businesses can make on-the-fly tweaks to campaigns based on what works in a particular geographic location. They can also display coupons to potential users nearby or help users find the business by advertising directly on a map.
4. Dynamic Offers
When you tie in technologies like push notifications and geotargeting, magical things start to happen. Businesses can use data collected through geotracking and ad campaigns to deliver just-in-time offers. Groupon Now is just the tip of the iceberg. The power of mobile apps allows businesses to do all sorts of cool things to boost revenue.
For example, movie theaters and very time-sensitive inventory that goes to waste at a particular time and can’t be recovered. The theater could track and send a coupon to users who are nearby and looked up information about showtimes but didn’t make a purchase. A bar with a slow night could offer an impromptu extended happy hour to past patrons who are nearby.
5. Pushing Through the Funnel
Ever walked into a store, shopped around a bit, and then walked out without making a purchase? That’s called a “bounce.” Online, users bounce for a variety of reasons and on mobile the reasons are even greater. Users might not have a credit card handy, typing in account information is considered too tedious or they simply get distracted and put their phone back in their pocket.
Fortunately, one way to combat transaction abandonment is through automatic address fill-in. Using a phone’s GPS, transactional apps can detect a user’s location and automatically fill in address data. Seamless, the leading online food delivery service, has been aggressively marketing its mobile apps that automatically detects a user’s location to fill in a delivery address and display restaurants able to deliver there.
6. Data Gathering
One of the really powerful tools available to online businesses is that they can easily track every move customers make from the moment a user lands on the site. What engaged users and what turned them off? Where, exactly, in the online store did a user go and what did they do when they got there? These are really easy questions for webmasters to answer, but good luck figuring that out in brick-and-mortar store. That is, unless you’re using the Wi-Fi signals emitted from smartphones in your customers pockets and purses. Tracking signals from mobile devices is opening a whole new world of analytics and data-gathering opportunities for retailers stuck in the physical world.
7. Compete Anywhere
Many brick-and-mortar retailers complain about showrooming, the practice whereby shoppers visit a physical store to inspect the goods in person all the while intending to ultimately make their purchase online, where prices are usually cheaper. While the traditional retailer might be on the losing end of that transaction, the customer and online retailer are winning. Price comparison tools are helping etailers drive additional traffic and sales. Amazon, for example, even went so far as to offer a $5 discount to shoppers who scanned items using their price comparison tool.
Mobile apps are helping businesses increase revenue largely by increasing efficiency. Instead of advertising to broad spectrum, users can be narrowly targeted. Businesses can lure back customers who haven’t been in a while but are nearby. Customers can shop during small pockets of time that would have have previously gone to waste. Businesses can precision-discount inventory in the last moments before it would have gone to waste. And all these little efficiencies are resulting in more revenue for businesses while, by and large, enhancing the overall experience for users.