Retail Customer Experience: Indoor Mapping Gives Power to Retailers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiates the shopping experience.
While outdoor GPS mapping is nothing new to the many users of Garmin’s or iPhones and the like, indoor navigation maps are still in their infancy. For retailers, the concept of a mobile-based in-store map is an enticing tool that could satisfy savvy smartphone shoppers and save brick-and-mortars from going out of style.
Recently, the Portland, OR-based Meridian announced that its "glowing blue dot" feature was slated for use at Macy’s 150,000 square-foot flagship store in New York City. Meridian’s turn-by-turn navigation system at Macy’s was one of three beta-test locations. The department store chain is the first major retailer to implement the indoor navigation feature.
Not only does the indoor navigation system offer shoppers a utility to get around and find stuff in stores, but retailers can also send targeted offers to them based on where they are standing. Jeff Hardison, Meridian’s VP of marketing and business, said that on average retailers can expect a 30-minute engagement time with shoppers using the app, with one in three shoppers clicking on the ads.
The system can also be embedded directly into a retailer’s smartphone app. Said Mr. Hardison, "We simply improve the app."
Shoppers are given an option on whether or not they want to use the location service and have their movements tracked.
"We use an opt-in process," Mr. Hardison explained. "Shoppers agree to share their location in order to get the utility, and once they agree to share we ask if they want to receive push notifications. We made sure we perfected the system for opt-in to make customers feel that they are agreeing to and knowing what they are getting into."
The tracking ability gives detailed analytics to retailers, as well as a look at shopper traffic that can help them design store layout and product merchandising, Mr. Hardison said.
While other start-ups and internet behemoth Google are entering the indoor mapping world, mobile strategist and analyst Bruce Krulwich of Grizzly Analytics believes the industry will be large enough to house the competition.
"I think that within 2-to-3 years we will see indoor mapping and location services as big as outdoor is now," he said. "All major mobile companies are working on this. But they are looking at mass market, not the retail side of it. They are not quite as accurate as ones tied into the retail experience. Even if Google comes up with one, there is still room for more retail-oriented companies to bring more accuracy."
- Indoor mapping gives power to retailers – Retail Customer Experience
- Macy’s Unveils First Indoor-Positioning iPhone App in the Retail Industry – Macy’s
- Indoor map tech poses challenges, opportunities – USA Today
What would be most and least appealing about in-store GPS navigation for retailers as well as shoppers? Do turn-by-turn directions to merchandise provide enough of an incentive for consumers to embrace such technologies?