If your business is a destination for customers to visit, then you will have located it based on a combination of factors. These will include ease of access, such as sufficient car parking, or perhaps access to public transport. You may have looked at whether you have good visibility to people passing by. You may have looked at being close to complimentary businesses. Location, Location, Location has long been the mantra of many businesses. In fact it is considered so important in some industries such as the grocery trade, that companies will purchase perfect sites just to stop their competitors from getting them.
Social Media is a powerful agent often overlooked or misunderstood by people in business. Millions of people are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and are talking about your businesses, whether you get involved or not.
They share photos and comments, make recommendations and criticisms.
Smart retailers and businesses not only encourage this by having their own pages and engage in conversations, perhaps run promotions and turning their customers into a community.
Smart business operators understand that people do business with people and that is one of the key things that sets a bricks and mortar business apart from the rest. Yes, sometimes you can get a good deal on the Internet but you don’t get the richness of relationship, touch, feel, smell, sounds and experiences on the net, yet.
So finally a few comments on the mobile. Sticking with the supermarket theme for a moment. I have the Countdown application on my iPhone. It allows me to use the camera as a scanner, adding items to my shopping list and when I go to the supermarket it tells me which aisles to go through to get what I have on my list. Of course it does more than that, although it hasn’t yet picked up on the social media aspects.
Here are a few things I would add to this great application. It has a store finder and uses the GPS to tell you where the nearest store is in relation to your current location. Wouldn’t it be great if it used an API and included the option of adding Metroview’s NZ City Car Nav which retails for $9.95 which you could purchase with your Onecard Loyalty Points. Then you could have full car navigation to your destination. For those with shopping on their mind, what about a Find My Car app to help you find where you parked.
Staying with Countdown as an example, with social media on mobile, how about being able to link relevant discussions via API’s (special interfaces that social media applications use to connect to other applications). For example you could use it to see if any friends are in the vicinity that you could shop with, using the GPS on your phone. Let’s call it Social Shopping.
The app could allow you to have discussions that automatically include a twitter #hashtag allowing you to share information with your community. You could tell your friends (and the store) that the bacon hocks were a bit too salty, that there are specials on items you think your friends would like. You could even have recommendations that could appear on friends or family’s shopping list. You could ask family if they want you to pick up anything special for them while you are there, which would generate a notification on their mobile.
As I have said before, the mobile is ubiquitous and becoming a primary internet tool for consumers and all people are consumers. The major problem is that most retailers or destination businesses are so busy working on the business, or so tied up in BAU (Business As Usual) doing things they way they have always done them, that they are missing out on some great opportunities. That is of course where you can turn to SoLoMo Consulting. We can give you advice and ideas that might seem obvious once we have shared them, but in the normal course of your work, you probably wouldn’t have thought of them.
Why not contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and see how we can help.