Expert Column: How Grocers Can Harness Location-based Marketing

When it comes to grocers, what sets one store apart from another that’s selling the same type of products?  The experience. Now, more than ever, the savvy grocer recognizes the huge potential mobile marketing has in improving the customer experience and helping grocers create distinction and differentiation.

As consumers, we are devoting more attention to our mobile devices. According to a recent report published by comScore, there are now more than 159 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone.  Some 79 percent of smartphone users are “smartphone shoppers” and 84 percent of smartphone shoppers take their phone into stores to assist with their shopping experience.  In addition, the number of mobile coupon redemptions has increased exponentially as offers become easier to access and shoppers become smarter about using them to make purchases .

Grocers and brands need to look at this digital evolution as an opportunity and quickly embrace it or risk being left behind by their competitors.  Game-changing solutions now enable retailers and brands to take advantage of smartphone technology to differentiate their offerings and create a unique in-store experience for consumers that keeps them coming back.

The technology to harness smartphones for marketing already exists in many forms.  There is currently tremendous buzz around the use of Bluetooth beacons, near-field communications, Wi-Fi tracking and digital audio watermarking. Typically, some or all of these solutions are implemented to enable location-based marketing, a strategy that is expanding rapidly  based on its effectiveness in capturing consumer attention. Rising above the clutter of current product placement and visual merchandising, these types of channels can be used to extend existing marketing campaigns by:

  • Pointing customers to current or upcoming initiatives, promotions or discounts
  • Directly offering redeemable in-store coupons
  • Driving downloads and engagement with proprietary apps
  • Building out customer loyalty and points programs by allowing customers to earn credits each time they arrive in the store
  • Creating a two-way dialogue between customer and brand through feedback and survey mechanisms

When you know that a shopper is in your store and can use location-based marketing technologies such as Shazam In-Store or Mood Presence -- a "digital watermark" technology that transmits an inaudible signal hidden in a store's background music system that communicates with mobile devices to deliver targeted messages or offers -- you have the opportunity to generate more effective results by offering the customer information that is especially relevant.  Location-based marketing is just another channel to incorporate into a brand’s overarching marketing strategy. It should serve as an extension of programs already in place and, as I said before, not be viewed as an unachievable challenge.  These programs can be implemented right now.  All in all, effective marketing is about communicating in a way that provides the utmost ease and value for the customer -- that’s what turns an occasional shopper into a loyal customer. 

To learn more about what Mood is doing to revolutionize the in-store experience, visit Since unveiling the Presence capability in April 2013, Mood has enabled the signal in more than 175,000 Mood client locations across the U.S. in the retail, hospitality, restaurant and financial service industries.