Omichannel has been the buzzword in the marketing world for quite some time, as companies have sought myriad ways to connect their channels and data in seamless ways across their enterprises. But following announcements of recent store closures and post-holiday sales data that suggest more consumers chose to shop online than in physical stores, retailers must get serious about their omnichannel initiatives fast.
In today's feature, "What's Next in Connected Stores," Judith Aquino points out four aspects of how retailers are working to create seamless connections between shoppers' digital and physical worlds. From Sephora outfitting its stores with digital catalogs to Rebecca Minkoff providing interactive screens for assistance, retailers are taking the next step in this very important omnichannel evolution.
While there are many ways to fuse the digital and physical connections, location-based marketing is proving to be the link retailers desire. The Location Based Marketing Association's inaugural "Global Location Trends Report" launched at SXSW, showed that 75 percent of 253 global marketers, including Starbucks, BMW, and Coca-Cola, believe location-based marketing is important for their businesses.
In the report, Brendan Wright, international mobile product management director of Walmart Labs, said that the company is turning to mobile location to solve key customer problems in our stores. "A great example of this is our 'check-in' functionality, which utilizes mobile location services to allow a customer to 'check-in' via mobile to save time collecting their online order from a store," he said.
The critical nature of location-based marketing among retailers is evident in some of the data:
- With the exception of the U.K., countries expect to shift more marketing dollars to LBM in 2016.
- Forty-seven to 84 percent of companies (depending on the country) are currently using location-based data to target their customers.
- Twenty-five percent + of marketing budgets are allocated to LBM.
- All location technologies including beacons, NFC, GPS, and wifi, are set to grow by double digits. Sixty-three percent of marketers plan to invest in wifi, 57 percent plan to invest in GPS, 46 percent NFC, and 41 percent in beacons in 2016.
The increasing shift to omnichannel and location-based marketing shows retailers are getting savvy about the way in which they communicate with customers. Will 2016 be the breakout year for location-based engagement? Time will tell.