I believe mobile technology is indeed affecting the way retailers reach their target demographics. As smart phones get more sophisticated, it’s really all about figuring out ways to leverage an app better than the competition. One way is by engaging users in permission based check in system such as Foursquar, Yelp and now Facebook. This system permits users to interact with the vendor on a social game level. The vendor can award prizes or badges in accordance to the activity performed by the user; therefore using the mobile device not only as a live tracking system, but live incentive provider. Incentives can be anything from coupons to virtual gifts and prizes.
Other ways vendors are able to track and incentivize users to engage using mobile devices is through sites such as mobilecoupons.com and getyowza.com. These are apps that allow users to instantly pull up specials and coupons based on their geographic location. This allows vendors to instantly offer point of sale discounts the user may have not otherwise thought to bring along. In many cases this could make or break a purchasing decision.
When all else fails, there’s always Twitter. Just by typing in hush tag key words one can get a clear perspective as to what may be going on at a specific time and place. An example would be the food truck craze here in LA. Consumers follow their favorite food trucks to see what the lunch special is that day, make purchasing decisions on the spot. Twitter is also serving as a communication device for users to learn when the food trucks will be arriving, etc.
Mobile advertising is here for the long haul I suspect. I think the people that are customer oriented and know how to serve a customer’s wants will always be ahead of the game when it comes to leveraging the mobile tools that are out there. I’m pretty excited to see what the next few years look like.