The development of trade and retail marketing is supported and advanced by means of technological innovations. The term “location-based services” refers to applications that give consumers specific information tailored to their current location. This is made possible by the GPS receivers found in many smartphones, which allow a phone to be geolocated. Foursquare is an example of how this function can also be used for marketing activities. This US-based company, which now has more than 45 million customers, gives advertisers the opportunity to make users specifically aware of special offers in their locality by means of smartphone-based advertising. The advertiser only pays for an ad if the customer actually responds to it.
Marketing experts have high expectations of the indoor positioning system iBeacon introduced by Apple in November 2013, which functions on the US company’s iPhone and iPad devices. In contrast to Foursquare, this system makes it possible to also locate users when they are inside a building. The system recognises when a customer with an iPhone or iPad enters the sales floor thanks to small wireless sensors known as beacons. These beacons transmit data to the customer’s device, providing them with information on the latest offers and promotions. iBeacon could also handle payment at the point of sale in the future. The American department store chain Macy’s is one of the first retail companies to currently test this technology in two of its stores in conjunction with the shopping application Shopkick. It remains to be seen to what extent customers will accept it.