Author: Grace Durie
Location based offers, what does this mean as a concept and for the millions of consumers who hit the high street to do their shopping and banking every year?
Coming from Generation Y, a generation that is ruled by the three c’s: convenience, consumerism and connectivity, I understand that a paper voucher through the post from my favourite high street shop, or an offer from my bank in my letterbox is not going to live up to my, and my peers, admittedly, exceptionally high expectations…
Targeting and location data
So what do we want? And what information are we prepared to give to get it? As consumers, we are prepared to give more and more of our personal information to brands in order to get offers that are targeted, personally, to meet our specific needs. A recent survey showed that, in the UK, this figure was highest amongst Londoners, 55% of whom are prepared to share their data, specifically their location data.
As I considered this the thought occurred that if I was to share my location data, tell the places where I both keep my money and spend my money, where I am at any one time, then what could they give me in return? What level of personalised service could I expect?
As I discovered, the possibilities are endless, many financial services providers have a ‘sixth sense’ when it comes to collecting consumers’ location information. They are capable of using our locations to provide so much more than a simple branch search, imagine being directed to the appropriate area of a bank branch, as soon as you walk in? No having to ask where to find anything, no unnecessary time wasting, a bonus coming from a generation for whom visiting the branch is an ever increasing rarity, or being able to receive an offer for a product that could be of benefit, just by walking near a branch.
Digital finance and security
Then there is the small matter of security, of a financial institution being able to protect me by knowing my location. I, like most of my generation, am conscious of the security minefield that my digital finances, the contactless payments and app usage presents, and the thought that my bank can track legitimate payments and transactions by being able to locate me at a point of sale, whether a fixed terminal or a retailer using mPOS technology, is appealing.
Facial recognition for a more personalised experience
But it’s not just being able to track my whereabouts on my mobile phone that allows location based offers; some retailers are using facial recognition software. Take for example, the Russian makeup chain Ulybka Radugi, who are using specific software that is capable of linking a customer’s facial expressions and emotions to their loyalty card and thus, their purchase history, this then generates offers specific to, not just to a location but to an emotion. Perfect personalised interaction for a generation for whom customer services is becoming a much more emotional experience.
But what prevents full take-up of these brilliant and innovative services? The crux of the matter is trust. There are those who don’t trust retailers or banks enough to surrender their location, however we now live in world where knowing where people are at all times is increasingly more common, from checking in on Facebook when you go to the park or tagging your location on Instagram when you take a selfie.
The rise of current location sharing
In 2014, research by IBM showed that 36% of global consumers are willing to share their current location with retailers via GPS – that’s almost double the number who were in 2013. With this figure set only to rise and rise, how long can it really be until our retailers and our banks know both where we are and what we want?