With reports surfacing that brick-and-mortar retailers are tracking their customers via their smart phones with increasing frequency, it's no surprise that the first response of many consumers is to be little freaked out. My initial reaction was probably similar to that of most; the word "tracking" raised a mild sense of panic, and a passive fear that Big Brother was watching.
However, when I stepped back, acknowledged that we're not living the plot to 1984, and actually considered what this tracking would entail, I must admit I was not as turned off as I thought I would be. Mobile marketing, described as the distribution of promotional materials through a wireless network, seems like a brilliant idea to directly target potential consumers, leading to both increased sales and the combating of showrooming. I'm always looking for a way to save a few bucks, and if this data is being used to create a personalized shopping experience, that may not be the worst thing in the world.
A recent survey conducted by SAS/Leger regarding Canadian smartphone owners provided some insight that proves I'm not the only one that feels this way. 58 percent of Canadian smartphone owners said that they would be interested in receiving promotional offers for local stores while out shopping, and 38 percent said that if offered a discount or a complimentary item with their purchase they'd be more inclined to follow through and make the final purchase.
In addition to boosting sales and pushing window shoppers to make the purchase, discounts sent directly to one's smartphone have the capacity to increase customer loyalty. 47 percent of smart phone users said they'd be more inclined to return to a store if they received relevant discounts to their smartphones while shopping. Based on the consumers surveyed, 50 percent of consumers under 55 said they would be more likely to return to a store that offered them in-store discounts, compared to only 29 percent of consumers over 55.
Additionally, this form of mobile marketing could be a way that brick-and-mortar retailers could combat showrooming. By offering consumers discounts right then and there while they're actually in the store, I believe shoppers would be more inclined to take advantage of the deal and make the purchase while shopping, as opposed to waiting to go home and compare prices online.
Despite my initial fears regarding retailers tracking my location via my smart phone, I'm definitely interested in receiving discounts while I'm out shopping – even if these discounts may pressure me into making purchases that I didn't initially intend to make.
Do you think that targeting shoppers who are currently out shopping is a smart way retailers can boost their sales and customer loyalty? What will the rise of mobile marketing mean for the future of online shopping?
<Image: philcampbell – Flickr>
Interested in learning more about the Canadian market? Check out our upcoming Home Delivery World Canada conference!