It's Time to Wire Your Business for Indoor Location-Based Search

Think of it as GPS for inside your store. The largest retailers are implementing the technology but it's affordable for everybody.

learn more about Brett Relander

By Brett Relander

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Indoor location-based search (LBS) is growing as a natural extension of location-based search and marketing. According to a report by Mobile Marketing Watch (MMW), Americans spend more than 80 percent of their time indoors, and 85 percent of the mobile data generated is from indoor locations.

The same report finds that by 2016, there will be more than 200,000 indoor locations across America featuring indoor LBS technology. This is an 800 percent increase over the present number of around 25,000. Big retailers such as Best Buy, Walgreens and Target have already implemented LBS.

Related: 9 New Tips for Location-Based Marketing

Shopkick, a LBS shopping app, alerts users to deals and discounts the moment the user walks into a store that is a part of the Shopkick network. American Eagle Outfitters and Best Buy are just two of the big name participating retailers.

LBS allows people to locate products and services over a narrow area such as a mall, stadium, hospital, airport or retail store. There are several advantages for businesses:

  • LBS can be combined with mobile marketing via digital place-based media (DPb) that communicates with consumers on the move and invites them to a store. Once implemented, LBS technology provides an enhanced search and shopping experience. Shoppers can locate objects with ease, and also call for service when needed.
  • Businesses can up-sell and cross-sell in real time based on a customer's search preferences. For example, a person purchasing a printer can be guided to ink cartridges available at a discounted rate.
  • Physical tracking of a customer inside a store yields useful information on behavior. The data can be used to create personalized offers and plan the layout of stores, so that customers can enjoy an experience as intuitive and seamless as possible.
  • Storage, stock-keeping and retrieval of stock keeping units (SKUs) become easier.
  • Malls and garages can implement a smoother parking and vehicle locating system.

Indoor LBS makes use of WLAN, ultra-wide band, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for interacting with mobile devices. These are highly accurate positioning technologies that are inexpensive to deploy.

Related: How Location-Based Marketing Can Help You Connect with Customers

Apps on mobile devices are useful for offering reward points for purchases, as they can be linked to a business' indoor location-based search to increase store visits. Saved searches and virtual catalogs on an app can be tapped to reveal a product's physical location.

Mobile payments are another function that can be integrated into LBS apps. Shoppers can be given the option of making an in-store purchase and taking home the purchased items or arranging for delivery.

Indoor location-based search is here to stay, with the level of integration between hand-held devices and search technology steadily increasing. Smartphones will get smarter and better at alerting users to valuable information upon entering a business.

The time to invest in LBS for your stores is now, especially with the holiday seasons approaching. Indoor LBS is already a part of the overall marketing strategy for several businesses.

Related: Four Rules for Location-Based Marketing Without Creeping Out Customers

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition (http://X1Fuel.com). He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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