The Location Based Services (LBS) include a very wide range of services that provide information to the user based on its physical location. Under the umbrella of LBS, there are all platforms that provide some kind of service, even for information purposes, to a device – and then to its user – depending on its physical location.
The definition itself is very general because the possible Location Based Services are many: from weather forecasts to navigation for vehicles, signaling from the surrounding points of interest in the identification of nearby contacts.
Today, the services that can be offered through a smartphone due to its geo-location through the GPS sensor. These mobile services are also mainly of three types: Navigation (interactive maps, calculate routes, etc.), for the information (reporting of places of cultural interest, news, events, contacts, etc.) and marketing (marketing proximity, in-store actions, targeted promotions, etc.).
From the company’s point of view, the most interesting sector is undoubtedly the third. It is also to the profound technological evolution, which is passing through at this stage the retail industry.
In this sense, the more evolved applications are now those of the proximity marketing, i.e. the conveying of promotional messages and special offers on a customer’s smartphone. It could be the report of a special promotion in a store a few hundred meters from the customer.
Location based preference
The purpose of these forms of promotion is not acting “rain” without distinction of all possible customers but only on those who are more likely to be stimulated to purchase because of their location.
Obviously, things are even more complicated in this description. To convey promotional messages, it requires that the customer has downloaded to the smartphone the specific retailer app and that it is somehow registered and identified the app.
The position of the client itself can be crossed with other information present in information systems of retailers, such as purchase history, the preferences expressed and those derived from the analysis of his behavior during the visits to the company website, or on social networks.
All these data can in principle be connected to each other to optimize the promotional message and increase the chances of involvement.
An evolution of these forms of communication is linked to the in-store activities. Here geolocation by GPS is too imprecise and is spreading the use of so-called beacons, small stationary devices positioned in specific locations of the store that detect the customer’s smartphone via Bluetooth and a dedicated app.
It shows information and promotions related to the area of the store where it is. Systems beaconing have also been used to provide services of navigation within large retail spaces: the user specifies the desired product, and the app shows how to achieve it.