In an increasingly competitive business world, continuous technological advancements are providing businesses with more opportunities to get ahead of the curve. Specifically, geo-location is starting to become a big asset in helping businesses grow by giving them greater market reach. Successful businesses can only grow if they strategize to meet consumer demands that require services to be fast, reliable and relevant. Geo-location is able to fulfill this criterion because of the wide use of phones, tablets, and computers, but the collection of this sensitive data also pressures businesses to be cautious in their approach.

In downtown Toronto, Canada, around 200 businesses within a .7 mile radius are equipped with special sensors. The sensor tracks a phone’s geo-location data including where they shop, eat, and partake in other activities, and the frequency of which they do so. Firms compile this data and analyze it to produce helpful data insights, which are more commonly referred to as business analytics. The data helps analysts build consumer lifestyle profiles, categorizing people into groups. For example, consumers who frequently go to the gym and shop at healthy food and athletic apparel stores are categorized as health activists. With this knowledge at hand, businesses can focus on tailoring suggestions and special promotions for each consumer rather than providing them with unsystematic advertisements.

Currently still in preliminary testing, another example of geo-location can be applied to supermarkets. Royal Philips, from the Netherlands, is a major supporter in this effort. They will revolutionize the way consumers shop in supermarkets by utilizing their LED lighting systems to direct customers based on their in-store location. As customers walk throughout the supermarket, their geo-location data is collected and a downloadable app will suggest special offers or new products near them. LED’s from above will light up as visual cues, and with the combination of the app, will help navigate customers to gather ingredients for recipes.

However, with all of these benefits of geo-location tracking, there are still some concerns about privacy. Businesses need to move at a cautious pace to gradually introduce geo-location analysis, so they do not alarm consumers. They also need to ensure that the overall goal of the collection is to understand consumer behavior so they can better improve products, services, or solutions. The future is bright for businesses that are able to harness the power of geo-location and business analytics.

How do you feel about allowing businesses to use your geo-location for personalized promotion and product development? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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