People Say: Are location-based mobile apps still useful to businesses?

Mobile apps that use your location to offer services are no longer new. But are they truly useful to businesses? I’ve asked this question to LI professionals to learn what they think on this point.

“Location-based applications are extremely interesting for brands and retailers because they allow those companies to direct consumers to outlets in their vicinity while simultaneously providing information about the products on offer. When these are allied to measures such as mobile coupons and vouchers, you have the combination of information and financial incentive which can be compelling for consumers.”
Shaun Caldwell
Mobile Application Development

“I think the current services and applications provide hope but need perfecting on availability of statistical information to businesses. Relational information delivered to businesses could reduce the time of business correction by providing comparative metrics to help businesses correct outlying practices. For instance: Hourly sales at a store versus count of location-based check-ins could provide analysis of similar swarm count to sales ratio for comparison of regional stores or historical counts of same store to allow business leaders to react sooner and address same store issues before they impact the bottom line. This is just one outcome, but the reality is: most business would value any and all additional information to better understand their customers actions and trends.”
Landon Gordon
Chief Technology Officer

“Speaking in terms of Gambling and ensuring mobile players are physically located within jurisdictions where gambling is legal, location based tracking is essential. Not all operators do it, but just like IP geolocation is used for internet gambling apps, eventually mobile location will become more widely used in gambling and across other industries. The only drawback for location services is privacy, and recording peoples whereabouts could become a very taboo practice and any such retained data of location history should be tightly controlled like you would credit card information or disposed of immediately after use.”
Andy Furnival
Mobile Systems Architect at IGT

“Companies that service merchants (like: Groupon and Forkfly) must think so. Silly things like becoming the “mayor” of some business with 4Square must be good marketing (on some level) for some businesses. That said, until mobile/location becomes more widely deployed/used by more than just 20-somethings it will likely remain a fringe technology.”
Gary Smith
Sr.Technical Writer with Corsair Engineering on contract at Insitu

In my opinion, location-based services can have a lot or a little to offer businesses, but all of them should be watched, because ultimately connecting customers to merchants is what any LBS has to do. And beyond the desktop, pure-play start-ups are figuring how to combine where you are into unique offerings designed to deliver real value and new customers wherever those customers may be. The LBS game is still rapidly maturing, and as more Smartphones penetrate the market, businesses would do well to consider their best LBS strategy, so they can find the customers that are seeking to find them.