Indoor Geolocation Services Look promising for the Future

In an article titled Apple Buys Indoor GPS Specialist in Map War Jessica A. Lessin notes a problem presently impeding further development of location-based marketing services for retailers: “how to detect a mobile-phone user’s location when the user is indoors and traditional GPS technology doesn’t work.”

The company that manages to overcome the hurdle is poised to capture a segment of online advertising with, as we see it, more promise than most. We think it will be easier for retailers to produce results from advertising targeted to consumers shopping in a mall, than has historically been the case for shoppers shopping online, from home.

We also think it is a big deal that the company that purchased WifiSLAM happens to be Apple. Few brick and mortar retailers have been as successful at Apple over the last 5 or more years. Whether WifiSLAM continues to operate as an independent entity, or is, in some way, rolled into the rest of Apple’s retail marketing effort, owning at least one entrant in the race to breakthrough the indoor geolocation barrier is not critically important. We think Apple benefits either way.

What attracts us about this market is not the size as much as it is the atmosphere surrounding product promotion opportunities. Consumers walking through malls are usually on a hunt to buy something. Promoting products directly to them as they make their way past shop after shop brings online advertising much closer to people who really want to buy something. We think conversions will be higher. We also think consumers will benefit more from exploring the products presented to them through an indoor online marketing system. Few consumers have the time to research all of the products sold by all of the shops in a mall, But connecting a consumer’s past buying history with items on sale at specific locations within a shopping center is almost certain to deliver better results.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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