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Location-based mobile tactics drive in-store holiday traffic

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November 23, 2011

Kiehl's location-based holiday SMS

Location-based mobile advertisements and SMS messages are an effective way to increase brand awareness and drive consumers into bricks-and-mortar stores this holiday season.

Mobile banner and in-application ads can be highly-targeted through location-based services, offering a way for luxury marketers to zone-in on potential customers and drive them to their nearest location. Additionally, while some luxury retailers choose to disregard SMS messaging in the face of apps, location-based SMS messaging is still a viable way to reach all consumers in a particular area.

“Mobile presents a very compelling opportunity for brands who really understand mobile to present a highly-engaging experience that online struggles to give,” said Ernie Cormier, president/CEO of Nexage, Boston.

“When you combine the personalization with rich media video and the location capabilities that the phone provides, you can get a much higher sense of engagement and calls-to-action than you can through any other medium,” he said.

“Location allows another means of targeting, but a means that can lead to very specific calls-to-action.”

Tuning in
Luxury marketers that wish to take advantage of mobile ads should look to make them location-based to increase foot traffic to local stores.

Indeed, many affluent consumers are still more likely to purchase expensive jewelry or cars in-store as opposed to on the Web or through a mobile device.

While discounts will not likely entice affluent consumers, special shopping experiences or events at the nearest retail location can boost in-store traffic.

Marketers can choose to zone-in on a specific coordinate when using location-based ads or target an entire city, according to Mr. Cormier.

Luxury automakers such as BMW and Audi are good examples of brands that use rich media ads and location technology to lead consumers to events and sales at their local dealer.

Additionally, department store chain Nordstrom is aiming to increase in-store traffic with location-based mobile banner ads in apps such as Pandora (see story).

Location-based ad in Pandora

“There is an obvious value of location that allows people to be told about something that is happening right near them,” Mr. Cormier said. “Luxury brands [just] need to think about what they want to do.”

Beyond skin-deep
Location-based advertising can also be used for more immediate and direct calls-to-action through SMS messaging.

Indeed, luxury brands can use geo-fencing technology to see when a consumer steps into the range of a special event going on at a nearby store and send them a special offer to use in that location.

For example, high-end skincare brand Kiehl’s made its first foray into mobile earlier this summer, using location-based SMS messages to alert opt-in consumers to upcoming sales and events at its local stores (see story).

The brand has recently taken it one step further and implemented geo-fencing mobile ads for the holidays.

When an opt-in mobile user steps into the range of a Kiehl’s store that has a special promotion happening, she is immediately alerted by an SMS text.

For example, shoppers in the Garden City Mall in Paramus, NJ, at the end of October received a message for a free sample of the brand’s midnight recovery serum.

Kiehl's geo-fenced SMS messages

Additionally, Kiehl’s has recently been sending consumers a “spread the joy” text message when they step into a tagged area, offering them an in-store discount or an online discount code.

Kiehl’s may want to consider stepping up its mobile game in the future with mobile ads or a branded app.

“I would look at mobile as an opportunity, especially the fact that you can do such rich engagement,” Mr. Cormier said.

“If brands overcome their initial prejudice around mobile, marketers can target quite well and can deliver a really rich and really compelling experience,” he said. “Don’t be wary of the technology.”

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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Kayla Hutzler is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are automotive, consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, financial services, media/publishing, software and technology, telecommunications, travel and hospitality, real estate, retail and sports. Reach her at kayla@napean.com.

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