How can I take advantage of GPS functionalities on mobile phones and location-based social media to reach consumers on the move?

Many mobile phone owners ‘check in’ to locations on social networking sites via their devices. This in turn allows retailers to find out when potential customers are nearby.

According to Loren McDonald, vice-president of industry relations at marketing technology agency Silverpop, “this opens a host of opportunities for marketers to target customers and potential customers using highly relevant and timely content based on their location”.

However, many retailers are not yet taking advantage of this platform. A presence on social media network Foursquare, which allows members to check in and broadcast their location, is a good first step.

Once retailers ‘own’ their location on the network, they can begin to run promotional offers to engage with their audience, says McDonald. “Analysing the check-in habits of your customers allows you to target them effectively based on their behaviour,” he adds. “When does your target audience check in at your store, and how often? This deeper behavioural understanding allows you to communicate with them when they are at their most receptive.”

Retailers can also offer rewards to incentivise multiple check-ins by loyal customers, and such schemes can be used to encourage customers’ friends to visit the store more often. “These tactics mean that location-based promotions and marketing can be short and long term, while also driving interaction across other social media platforms,” says McDonald.