“If you are not on the inside, your are on the outside”
Well apparently Apple wants to be on the inside. The last mile in the marketing, promotional, geo-location part of the food chain. There is still one slightly uncharted territory that will — without question — be the last mile in marketing. It is the ability for a brand to deliver contextual and highly targeted marketing at the local retail level. We may be inching ever-closer to this reality.
On March 23rd, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple acquired a company called WiFiSLAM for an estimated $20 million. WiFiSLAM is GPS for the indoors. It is able to triangulate the location of consumers, track their every move and deliver contextual marketing messages to them while capturing a tremendous amount of consumer data.
For Apple, this may be the next big thing. Some speculate that Apple will try to grab the mapping of the inside spaces while Google continues to map the oceans and the arctic. Google is just as busy trying to capitalize on this idea of mapping the inside of spaces as well. But it’s not just a game for Apple and Google. Amazon has been hard at work capturing tons of consumer information at the retail level.
A little Eve 6 for you.
Look no further than their Price Check for iPhone app that enables consumers to scan a barcode, snap a picture of a product or use text/speech search to find out how much the product is on Amazon. This business of showrooming has become a contentious talking point in the retail sector, as more and more consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to find a better price at the physical location. These consumers are using the stores as a showroom, but completing their purchases on their mobile devices and having the products shipped to their homes. What we don’t hear much about is the data and information that Amazon is capturing about consumers, how they walk through stores, what they’re price checking, the price variances from store to store, trends in merchandising and more. All of this (and more) is being captured, each and every time a consumer uses the app to find a better price. While it’s not real-time information like WiFiSLAM is offering, Amazon still has tremendous information about consumers and how they make their way through many different retail environments.
It looks like stores are going to become as dynamic and intelligent as their e-commerce counterparts. So long as retailers seeks permission from their consumers and use this technology to drive more value to the consumers, these types of technologies could well be the linchpin that secures the future of retail.
Inside game is now officially on. Just as spring arrives.