Location Based Service (LBS) Apps, are apps that technically seek information about your current location, to apps for giving out potential suggestions of stores, ATMs, hospitals, restaurants and others. Location based service is a software application available only for IP-enabled mobile devices that utilize knowledge about the location of the mobile.
These apps can then provide location-based solutions to queries or questions on the locations of certain stores or giving out suggestions of a nearby restaurant and more. Other apps may also be push-notification oriented wherein they may deliver coupons or vouchers for certain places, to customers who are in a specific geographical area.
What does a LBS App Require?
In general a location based service app requires four major support systems for them to work in the manner mentioned above.
Network to transmit data. The first necessary requirement is network to transmit data. This means that a search for anything that is near your location is run on internet.
Requesting permission from the user. Any access of the users’ data made, in order to search for and suggest a nearby store or generate a coupon for a restaurant round the corner, cannot be done without the users’ assent. It is illegal to access this data without requesting permission from the user.
GPS. For tracking where the mobile device is being held, there is a need for GPS enabled devices.
Data or content provider. While all of these above mentioned points are important, so is important the content provided for end users’ use. This means that shopkeepers or restaurant owners or hotel owners would launch discounts of different kind and these will be made visible to you, through the app, when you enter that area.
Why is there a hype about LBS? How useful are they?
Who doesn’t like life made easy? Who doesn’t like a fair bit of discount on something they were already going to buy? Who doesn’t get extra flavour added to their food if someone offers one pizza free? This is what makes LBS or LBS apps create a certain excitement in the market.
These kind of apps were already available, but were not much widely used. But with the announcement of LBS Apps like mobile wallet app, Beacons (Apple iBeacon, Samsung Proximity beacon) and other apps have motivated the customers to go in-store purchasing from online shopping.
But other than that, it is the ease this technology provides that makes it useful. It cuts short the long process of google searching shops near you and then deciding which is the authentic one.
You might trust an app you actually download and if it gives you some information or suggestion, then it is worth it.
Men’s Wearhouse, a clothware for men actually grew to what it is now due to LBS. Using Apple’s Passbook & Google Wallet, they started giving discounts, coupons, vouchers and more. Before they could know, their company’s profit had increased multiple times.
“With more than 1,700 stores in North America, we believed mobile wallet could be integral in driving customers to our store and amplifying that experience,” says Matt Stringer, executive VP of marketing at Men’s Wearhouse through an article on Forbes. The notable observation was that even though it was early days for LBS, Men’s Wearhouse got a tremendous response. It worked for them more than they could have imagined. They increased the in-store redemption by 10x.
Nordstrom, an another example that is trying to bridge the gap between the online and physical shopping experiences through Beacon sensors.
Some notable LBS Apps
(1) Review Apps: These are the apps that provide reviews for restaurant, cafes, hotels, snack bars and more. While giving positive reviews to certain places and recommending them, these apps are actually and in short, marketing your restaurant. The most famous review apps are; Zomato, Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor.
(2) Marketing Apps: Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Google+ are as good as marketing certain places, without even attempting to. When they allow users to show where they have been, with whom and how happy are you; it becomes an indirect promotion of the place itself. Apart from these social media apps, Yelp and Foursquare can be listed in too.
(3) Coupons: There are apps who specifically focus on giving out coupons and or vouchers may even a discount for a certain thing of a certain place. If the user has earned coupons then it is obvious that they will make use of the opportunity and shop at your store. And as they say, a happy customer is a loyal customer. Apps like RetailMeNot, Groupon, TravelZoo and LivingSocial rule this area.
The best a small business, a startup or an established business can reap from this technology is through location based marketing through these LBS apps. And these apps have already proven their worth in all the fields it has been tested in. From giving a boost to startups to sustaining enterprises, apps have done it all. Now with Location Based Services (LBS), you can have benefits for your shops, restaurants, hotels, flights, shopping malls and more.
Location Based Service apps are the trend of the day as it is beneficial to the user and the enterprises as well. We, at Space-O understand this and have already come up with Fungry, a food review app.