The interest for mobile shopping shows no signs of slowing down in 2011. Location based services found their way into our lives as the appetite for smartphones grew and are on their way to becoming invaluable for retailers. It is no secret that companies have increased their efforts in improving their mobile strategy, and the recent developments in the field suggest that location based services should be incorporated into the mix.
The recently announced Foursquare and American Express partnership will allow users to sync their AmEx cards with their Foursquare accounts in order to receive discounts that are exclusive to them. For example, users that spend $50 at Sports Authority will receive a $20 credit to their American Express accounts. The Foursquare platform currently has a user base of over 10,000,000 people and 250,000 merchants that these users can check in to. Along with this partnership, the users will not have to constantly look for their printed or mobile coupons and worry whether the coupons are still valid or not.
The receptivity to these innovations is definitely on the rise and the user bases are expanding with new users from US and abroad. Other implementations on various platforms such as Shopkick, Gowalla and Foursquare enable retailers to push location-aware mobile coupons contributing to familiarity with the subject matter. Hence, improvements in GPS technology is also increasing awareness and is hinting that the uptake of mobile commerce is going to take place a lot faster than e-commerce.
While these emerging technologies can equip consumers with most up-to-date information on the go, they also empower retailers by giving them access to what other merchants are doing and therefore helping them to react more quickly. Likewise, seeing analytics on how successful their campaigns are and retrieving information on their typical customers are some other benefits that retailers are expected to get in addition to gaining foot traffic from local shoppers. Customer loyalty seems to be among the gray areas that retailers should be paying attention, in order to retain cost-conscious customers when there are no available “specials.”
Even though these technologies have a long way to go before they are fully integrated into our lives, the accomplishments in the recent years cannot be underestimated. VDC estimates to see a more complete mobile shopping experience when NFC, location based services and mobile couponing (and deals) come together in the upcoming years.