Venuelabs and the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) today released the 2014 Mobile Consumer Benchmarks, a series of reports for key industry verticals including retail, restaurants and hospitality. Now in their second year, these benchmarks focus on mobile in-store customers.

Asif Khan, president of the Toronto-based LBMA told CMSWire this morning the reports are intended to help businesses with multiple locations such as retailers and restaurant chains turn "big data into business insights."

"We are unlocking the ability for brands to understand their customer engagement on a location-by-location basis as opposed to one giant national sentiment," he said.

Indoor Games 

Asif Khan.jpg

Indoor location and place-based marketing is a fast-growing segment that could be worth more than $10 billion annually in the US by 2018, according to research from San Francisco-based Opus Research, an IT industry analyst firm.

Indoor location technologies bring Internet-style tracking to physical spaces — and their development is changing the way retailers, venue owners, manufacturers and brands think about operations, place-based marketing and the customer experience, Opus maintains. 

Seattle-based Venuelabs, a provider of location based monitoring, measurement and engagement solutions, and the LBMA contend they recognize both the opportunities and challenges these mobile-related technologies create. The new reports provide marketers, operators and executives ways to identify the key trends in mobile consumer behavior and their in-store expectations, Kahn said.

The data and analysis was produced jointly by the LBMA and the Venuelabs data science team, leveraging the Venuelabs customer analytics technology platform. More than a half million businesses in 100 countries use this platform, which focuses on the marketing and customer service needs of merchants with physical locations, said Neil Crist, founder and CEO of Venuelabs.

4 Key Findings 

The new reports emphasize four trends. And while there is a self-serving undercurrent to the findings — specifically, that companies could benefit from Venuelabs technology — they are interesting nonetheless.

  1. Unstructured Data is Growing: Gartner defines unstructured data as content that does not conform to a specific, pre-defined data model, including tweets, status updates and other social media data.
  2. Historically, merchants have been primarily concerned with structured feedback (online reviews) from review sites like Yelp and CitySearch. In fact, unstructured data is growing at a faster pace and outnumbers structured data by a factor of 100:1. For the average merchant, greater than 99 percent of total customer feedback is unstructured data from sites like Instagram, Foursquare and Facebook, while traditional reviews make up less than 1 percent."

  3. More In-Store Photos are Creating a Need for Analysis: Everybody loves a picture, or so it seems. Because of tools like Instagram, in-store consumer photos are becoming a "rich data source for merchants," especially because about 67 percent of photos posted to the Internet have an associated location. "Locked within these photos are insights into merchandising, operations, facilities, and staff," the reports note.
  4. Companies and Brands are Still Missing Local Mobile Customer Feedback: The reports claim leading customer experience solutions like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics, Lithium and Vitrue are not designed to listen to the in-store consumer. The reports claim: "Without location-based listening technology, merchants miss over 86 percent of the local mobile consumer activity."
  5. Mobile Consumer Channels are Growing and Fragmented:  The local sites and channels customers frequently access on their mobile devices are diverse and fragmented. A typical retail location, for instance, "has on average 11 local channels capturing customer experiences and feedback. For merchants with 5, 50 or 3,000 locations, this landscape can be unmanageable without technology."

Venuelabs Crist argues that the context of location provides rich data that helps companies and brands put their fingers on the pulse of their customers. "With location based data growing exponentially every year, it will soon overtake traditional consumer datasets absent location. Understanding the mobile customer is a strategic imperative," he said.

Take a Look

Want to know more? Take a look at summaries from the four reports.

Learning Opportunities

Venuelabs 2014 Retail Industry Benchmark for Mobile Customer Experience:

Venuelabs 2014 Fast Casual Restaurant Industry Benchmark for Mobile Customer Experience

Venuelabs 2014 Quick Serve Restaurant Industry Benchmark for Mobile Customer Experience

Venuelabs 2014 Hospitality Industry Benchmark for Mobile Customer Experience

 Title image of the Magnolia Cafe, Austin by Asa Aarons / all rights reserved.