Mobile Marketing to the Rescue
I often hear the latest and greatest technologies available in the retail space and think to myself, “Would I ever use it?” Case in point, am I really going to turn a 5-minute trip to CVS to buy necessities (e.g., toilet paper, toothpaste, shaving cream, etc.) into a half-hour ordeal by whipping out my smartphone and comparison shopping each item to find out if I can save 18 cents on the same brand of shampoo at Walgreens? Not likely.
That said, I have a great example of how mobile/location-based marketing earned a retailer a customer last week. Retail Online Integration hosted its first Retail Roundtable Dinner Event at the super fancy Union League Club in New York City last Thursday. When one of the roundtable panelists showed up to the event in jeans and was denied entrance into the club by Union League staff, plan B quickly sprung into action.
After unsuccessfully pleading with the staff at the Union League to make an exception this one time (but before lapsing into full-fledged panic mode), we decided to pull out a smartphone and search for the closest men's apparel retailer that could sell us a pair of khakis. Searching for an apparel retailer in midtown Manhattan proved to be as difficult as searching for snow in the North Pole. In less than a minute we had the address of a Lord & Taylor two blocks away from the Union League, and one of our salespeople and our speaker were on their way to buy a new pair of pants. Crisis averted. Clad in his new khakis, the speaker was able to return and contribute to an interesting discussion on the evolving state of the retail industry.
Ten years ago, heck, even five years ago that quick of a resolution may not have been possible. The lesson to take from this story: With more and more consumers carrying smartphones with them at all times, it's imperative that your brand be available wherever and whenever consumers have a need.