As location-based services, based on the physical location of the customer, become more and more popular in the ever expanding mobile entertainment market, businesses can implement this technology to make certain aspects of their business more efficient.
Upon the arrival of geographical positioning systems, companies began experimenting with ways to connect people with locations, such as an automatic teller machine, hotels, or points of interest, via their mobile devices. Now that GPS is finding its way into more of these devices, these location-based services are becoming all the rage in the next generation of connecting and locating for business purposes, such as locating the whereabouts of employees or business contacts. And customers can use it to find your business or receive alerts on their phones about sales or promotions.
eMarketer, a research group for digital marketing and media objectives analysis, reports that the number of worldwide location-based service users increased from nearly 19 million in 2007 to more than 61 million in 2008. More amazing, that number is expected to jump nearly 120 percent in 2009.
This number is rising in part because of the availability of affordable smartphones in the market. And as privacy enhancements (a serious issue in the early stages of location-based services) increase, you can bet this technology will be a major player in the future of how business gets done.
So it’s not a matter of when to begin implementing location-based services into your business but how:
- Workforce management, asset, and vehicle tracking: Imagine being able to track your fleet or sales team with the precision of tracking a package shipped across the country. With a location-based service, such as Google’s Latitude, a manager can make sure a person or team is running with greater efficiency. The software allows you to quickly contact anyone via text messaging, instant messaging, or phone. Compatible for tracking with either a phone or a PC, this software is free and extremely easy to use.
- Location-based messaging: If your business is looking for a new marketing angle, location-based messaging may be your next step. Using text messaging technology, a business can advertise straight to subscribers’ phones based on their proximity to any given store using location-based messaging in that area. Whether they want coupons, discounts to nearby restaurants, or other specialty offers, a number of consumers have begun subscribing to this new and growing trend. In fact, Inmar Inc., a coupon processing agent, says that redemptions have jumped 140 percent from last year as business owners realize that digital-coupon delivery is more effective than newspaper inserts and coupons on the back of sales receipts, for example.
If you’re just looking to connect, Loopt offers location-based messaging services and has teamed with all the major mobile phone companies to ensure seamless integration into a business’s network. With Loopt, you can quickly view a map highlighting where others in your network are currently located, which could be used to track employees.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a way to get into the advertising market via location-based marketing, Acuity Mobile is a great way to get started. Its Spot Relevance technology targets your customers based on their actual and projected locations, interests, activities, business goals, and time of day. It supports every carrier and every wireless device and will work with your business to develop a strategic plan to identify and target your customer base.