Location-based marketing – creepy or cool?

Elina Saarenmaa

Location-based marketing

Location-based marketing is more important than ever before. Knowing your customer’s precise location helps retailers provide relevant marketing, and for clients, it offers a better customer experience. As I wrote in my previous blog post, shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is about  the customer experience more than it is about anything else. 

Today’s consumers want experiences which improve and enhance their day-to-day lives. Modern customers are longing for personalisation and, despite what retailers may think, they are ready to give away their personal (and location) information in order to have a frictionless journey along the way as they move between channels and devices. Thus, companies need to be more creative (and responsible) about how they use their valuable data and how they engage with their customers.

A shift towards mobile (and towards location)

Mobile is now the extension of a retailer’s storefront, and tactics using location allow brands to send tailored, personalised messages to the consumer. 

Location-based marketing is a direct marketing strategy which uses a mobile device's location to alert the device's owner about an offering from a nearby business. Typically, location-based alerts are delivered to smartphones through text messages or push notifications, using beacon technology. An alert may include information about a local business's deal of the day or add a purchasing incentive, such as a discount coupon code. Some places can send messages to their regular customers to offer a cup of coffee when they are passing by! 
Location-based marketing requires the end user to opt in! The opt-in process usually takes place when an end user downloads the store’s mobile app and responds "ok" to the app's request to use the device's current location. 

Worried about privacy? – Give the power to your customers

Consumer privacy is everyone’s primary concern when it comes to location-based targeting and advertising. The privacy issues might make retailers uncomfortable with using location-based marketing. Although, when doing things right – it can offer meaningful connections to consumers using their mobiles, and the outcome can be a happier, more engaged customer! 

What’s the right thing to do then? Give the power to your customer. Allow them to opt-in to push notifications and location-enabled content. Let your customers choose and control what kind of offers and messages they want to receive apart from where and how frequently they want to obtain the messages and notifications. 

Engagement is key - both online and offline

We know that it’s not only the likes and followers that matter online – you also want to engage with your audience. As a marketer, you would like to enhance brand loyalty and give your clients something to talk and be excited about. Great conversations can develop into original stories – and good stories sell. The same goes for omnichannel marketing in offline environment. People need a sense of belonging, they like unique offers and they like to be taken into consideration.

As a retailer, you want people to feel good about and attached to your brand. To succeed in that, you need to know who your customers are and communicate with them! Thus, it is important for brand marketers to remain mindful when it comes to the content they push to the customers. There’s sometimes a fine line between what can be cool and what can be creepy (depending on the customers’ perceptions). That’s why it’s important to know your target group and tailor the messaging – and be that cool guy who everyone wants to follow and engage. 

No one wants to be spammy or annoying, so in order to make the best of location-based marketing: know your customers, be responsible and mindful. If you succeed, you will be rewarded with happy, loyal customers who end up at the till and will love your brand.     


Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.