Location-Based Services and the Indelible Importance of Awesomeness
This same principle applies to LBS, which are, after all, social networks in their own right.
Our survey found that 41 percent of consumers see the LBS social connection as most important, and another 21 percent especially prize the recommendations that those connections provide.
The ability of LBS users to obtain and act on these recommendations is what we call "guided exploration," and it's where the rubber meets the road for retailers hoping to benefit from this new form of connectivity. Retailers that deliver awesome customer experiences will find their brands buzzed about on LBS networks. The impact of that buzz will be even greater because it will reach consumers actively looking for new experiences.
I'm not suggesting that retailers that excel at the customer experience can blithely ignore LBS marketing, secure in the assurance that their happy customers will evangelize them to their friends and family to the fullest. Rather, I'm suggesting that the two need to go hand-in-hand. Our study found a very high correlation between LBS usage and frequent social network updates: 61 percent of LBS users are daily social networkers, as opposed to only 39 percent of nonusers.
This means that your brand's most active Facebook fans and Twitter followers are also the customers most likely to talk about your brand via LBS. Your best bet is to engage these customers throughout the development and roll out of your LBS program, letting them help shape your Foursquare Specials, for instance, or inviting them to contribute reviews to your Google Places entry.
It's no exaggeration to say that the LBS space is evolving daily, with the best opportunities for retailers yet to be uncovered.
But in addition to the recommendations contained in our full report, the best advice I can offer retailers today is the following: Keep an eye on the space, ensure your location listings on LBS networks are current and accurate, and stay close to your best customers as you venture into unfamiliar terrain.
And, of course, keep being awesome; the indelible impact of positive word-of-mouth is worth its weight in check-ins.
Eric Anderson is a partner and vice president of marketing for White Horse, an interactive web agency. Reach Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.