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What’s your location?

There are several location-based technologies on the market today. Among them: Geolocation, Mobile IP Lookup, Mobile GPS, WiFi and Beacon.

Cezar Kolodziej, president, CEO and co-founder of Iris Mobile, a rich media messaging company, will discuss the benefits of using these tools in a presentation at the Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

There are many advantages to location-based technologies because they can provide context to an individual’s physical location, said Kolodziej.

Cezar Kolodziej
Cezar Kolodziej

“When used intelligently, marketers can leverage these technologies to learn about shopping behavior, gather metrics on store visits including time since last visit or duration, or with some solutions collect information on dwell times in store,” he said.

For example, a retailer might send a physical coupon to a customer’s home, an, using a WiFi solution, detect the same customer in store the following day. This suggests that the physical coupon had some influence on the physical store visit.

Understanding this connection is extremely powerful, as it could influence the direction of a lot of marketing dollars as well as strategy going forward, said Kolodziej.

“We can also use location technologies better inform marketer’s objectives because we can deliver more relevant, real-time value, resulting in higher redemption rates and higher engagement from the customer,” he said.

For example, marketers can integrate location technologies with strategies like direct mobile messaging to deliver timely content in real-time based on a recipient’s physical location.

“We will likely see an increased adoption among marketers in favor of these technologies as they are closely tied to the widespread use of mobile devices, allowing us to interact with customers on an ever increasing real time basis,” he said.

Kolodziej describes and reviews the most frequently used location-based technologies:

• Mobile IP Lookup pinpoints a subscriber’s location using the unique IP address assigned to a mobile device while it is connected to Internet and requires that users share their location. The technology was invented in the early days of the Internet. It has since been applied to mobile, but the targeting is not accurate and it is really not a viable solution today when used for mobile devices.

• Geofencing is a product of an early 1990’s government regulation requiring wireless operators to locate any cellular device on their network, primarily to source 911 calls. The infrastructure created an opportunity for service providers, who mapped out geofences around specified areas like shopping centers so marketers could locate customers nearest their store via mobile device. Advantageous in theory, geofencing can be extremely costly and accuracy is correlated with both population and cell tower density, limiting effectiveness in many cases.


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• Mobile GPS is a satellite-based system that can confirm the coordinates of a mobile device. For the solution to work, mobile users must have GPS turned on and location sharing activated. This solution is limited when used indoors due to interference with building structures.

• WiFi uses WiFi access points to identify a mobile device attempting to use its services. This method can work in retail settings, event, public space, airport, or other venues offering wifi access. Users opt in via mobile form and are detected only when they are within range of the wifi, ensuring customer privacy. The strategy is limited to WiFi-enabled smartphone users and to venues that offer wifi access, but is the easiest and most effective solution to implement.

Beacon is a relatively new technology that uses Bluetooth technology to detect smartphones in range, typically in an indoor shopping setting. Mobile users must have Bluetooth enabled on their phone in order to be detected and the Beacon device itself is limited in that it cannot communicate with a mobile device without a beacon-friendly app installed.

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