Much has been written about improvements in mobile technology and the dramatic shift this has had in our everyday lives. We are now able to communicate and access any information we want whilst staying on the move.
These advances have caused disruption to most industries. Retail has been particularly affected, as changing consumer habits and the ability to research and buy products online has adversely impacted on traditional bricks-and-mortar operations. Low barriers to entry have made it easier for fresh, online only retail brands to cut into incumbent’s profit margins.
Efforts on the part of retailers to adapt to this global mobile trend have typically involved investing in online shop fronts to complement their existing physical footprint. But, instead of simply trying to play catch-up (with limited success) what if there was another way to leverage new technologies to enhance the consumer experience?
One Melbourne based company, Localz, is helping businesses to do just that. Localz has developed a way of utilising energy efficient micro-location technology – Apple’s iBeacon – to enable businesses to interact directly with customers’ smartphones. This is done by combining iBeacon with location technologies like GPS and Bluetooth Low Energy networks. Their proprietary platform, referred to as Spotz, makes it possible to integrate iBeacon into an existing iOS or Android app and provide users with digital information in real time.
With the ability to deliver location based digital content directly to patrons, storeowners can:
- Access real time data regarding which customers have entered their store
- Reward and influence them prior to purchase
- Provide specialised personal offers to frequent or repeat customers
- Gather analytics on in store behaviour; e.g. traffic patterns, time spent per department
In a short space of time, Localz has gained some notable accolades. From June to September last year they participated in a 12 week incubator program (JLAB) organized by UK omni-channel retailer John Lewis. From the hundreds of startups that applied, Localz was one of five finalists selected. Ultimately, they were awarded the prize of a £100,000 investment, in addition to a contract with John Lewis to implement Localz solutions across a number of different sites and functions.
Yet, retail is not the end of this story, with Localz growing their client base in multiple industries. Other beneficiaries of the technology include the global logistics industry. The Localz tech can be implemented to assist with asset tracking and improved last mile delivery. Consumers are able to select a preferred drop off location up until the last 30 minutes before order (e.g. a secure / discreet place at their home; nearby shop; depot) depending on where they are. This added convenience for the customer benefits businesses by improving their first time delivery numbers, reducing costs associated with repeat delivery, additional fuel costs etc.
Application also exists for the lucrative real estate market. The Localz team have tailored a beacon platform – called Homepass – that can be used to significantly enhance the sales experience in three distinct ways:
Mobile Marketing: Broadcast details of a sale property to nearby mobile phones, raising awareness and providing clients with instant access to property details on their smartphones.
Mobile Check-in: During an open house, impress visitors to the property by instantly registering their attendance with a few taps on a mobile device.
Mobile Engagement: Build and maintain relationships with prospective buyers by keeping them informed about market developments and properties of interest.
Recently, Localz has entered into a partnership with NYSE listed data analytics firm Teradata Corp with the aim of providing businesses with greater insight to their customers’ journey throughout the entire sales cycle.
As the divide between the online and offline worlds continues to blur, additional applications for this technology seem almost limitless. From better integration for your home electronics systems, to enhanced spectator experiences at major sporting events, I for one am curious to observe how its use grows and will be watching the space keenly.