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Location marketing gains favor at SXSW’s RetailLoco event

By Dan Hodges

AUSTIN, TX – The South by Southwest Interactive event this year offers a full array of innovative speakers and sessions. The highlight for me was the second annual RetailLoco event, held on March 15 by the Location Based Marketing Association. It offered a range of experts along with big and small companies that are leaders and innovators in the location marketing and technology industries.

Asif Khan, founder of the Location Based Marketing Association, pointed out that 85 percent of all data currently produced has a location element. Therefore, location is the new cookie.

Mr. Khan added that data enables experiences and with the average mobile phone having 10-plus sensors, it offers a world of possibilities for brand marketers. He outlined 13 areas of opportunity to look for this year:

1. Augmented reality + commerce
2. New data match-ups
3. Connected everything
4. Living in an Internet of Things world
5. Near field communication, or NFC
6. Payments and proximity
7. Re-inventing marketing
8. Taking the store to the people
9. Connecting location to loyalty
10. Location with a cause
11. Data informs context
12. It is all about emotional context
13. Turning experience into narratives

Mobile significantly impacting retail
An Adobe executive kicked off the day, saying that “Internet speed is here and it is accelerating. The rise of mobile is now.”

Adobe offered the following statistics:

? Mobile had a 16 percent share of sales during the holidays
? Mobile had 29 percent share of sales on Thanksgiving weekend
? 58 percent consumers allow applications to use GPS to personalize the experience
? 99 percent of retailers said personalization is very important
? 83 percent of marketers said they were happy with their level of personalization
? 29 percent of consumers said that they happy with the level of personalization
? 66 percent of users are using their phone in the store

Future of beacons
Alan Wizemann, vice president of product at and mobile at Target, pointed out that “it won’t be just one location technology in the store that wins but most likely a hybrid approach which combines multiple location technologies.”

Matt Kulig, cofounder and chief financial officer of Aisle411, said, “ We believe that beacons are a commodity. There are chips inside phones that can sense location. We believe that the mashup proximity to POS to sales will be a hybrid solution.”

Best practice for loyalty
Scott Roberts, director at ShopperTrak, said, “The best practice is to have the user’s app that is tied into your loyalty program. It allows you to see massive amount of data.”

Ryan Craver of the Lamour Group said “that loyalty coupons need to served in a way that is seamless and appeals to consumers.”

Target’s Mr. Wizemann, said, “It’s all about saving consumers time or money at Target.”

Meanwhile, Target is testing curbside delivery and providing a shopping list that shows where items are located in the store to save consumers time and to enhance the shopping experience.

Three areas of interest for investment
J. Skyler Fernandes of Simon Venture Group (SVG), the venture capital arm of Simon, an S&P 100 company and the largest retail real estate company in the world, said that his company is looking at three areas for investment:

1. Traffic flow: data, POS beacons
2. Indoor positioning and navigation: macro navigation in malls to the micro view of store
3. Personalization

Dan Hodges is managing director of Consumers in Motion Group, a New York-based strategic consultancy offering business, marketing, and technology services. He is also head of the New York chapter of the Location Based Marketing Association. Reach him at [email protected].