Industry Spotlight: Location Aware Apps in the Retail Industry

By: Bradley White | Published: November 23, 2017

With internet shopping offering consumers the attractive option of purchasing anything they could possibly desire from the comfort of their own home, it’s more important than ever for physical shops to be offering a unique and enjoyable shopping experience. However, enticing shoppers to venture out in potentially miserable weather can be tricky so many retail companies are beginning to embrace cutting edge technology to revolutionise the shopping experience. One way of doing this is through building location aware apps to offer innovative services for shoppers. Examples of the potential applications of location based services include:

  • Indoor navigation
  • Location based notifications
  • Finding a chain store’s nearest branch
  • Finding the location of specific items within the store
  • Location based marketing
  • Calling for assistance in a shop

Indoor Navigation

The sprawling nature of some of the world’s larger shopping centres often comes with the unwanted side-effect of disorienting shoppers and making it difficult to for them to find the stores they want. However indoor location tracking technology – in the form of Bluetooth beacons and WPS – means that in many large malls shoppers can find their precise location and find their way to any shop they wish to visit, preventing precious shopping time being wasted. BMDI Software has helped shoppers find their way around Mall Of America, implementing Bluetooth Beacon technology in Mall of America’s mobile app. As the second largest shopping mall in the USA, the Mall of America boasts over 500 stores. Considering the mall’s enormous size, it seemed logical for them to implement a navigation feature in their app. The app allows shoppers to see where in the building they are currently located and offers them directions to any store from their current position. This has proved a huge benefit to customers, eliminating time wasted trying to get their bearings and ultimately making their experience more enjoyable. Woman on Escalator in Indoor Shopping Mall

Location Based Marketing

Location tracking technology has also introduced the potential for location based ads to be sent to a customer. Stores can identify nearby customers and send them information about current offers as a way of enticing them in. Presenting the consumer with ads relevant to their position has proven to be an effective marketing strategy with location relevant ads being 20 times more effective than generic ads.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For…

Many companies have also built location aware apps to make it easier for shoppers to locate specific items in store. For example, Walmart have indexed the aisle in which every item is within their stores. This means that shoppers can look up a specific product using the app and find it’s location in whichever Walmart they are currently in.


If you’re struggling to find something specific in a shop the obvious solution is to ask a member of staff. But in larger stores it can be difficult to even find a member of staff. Once again location technology has come to the rescue with some shops implementing a ‘call for help’ button in their apps which will alert a member of staff to your location. Waitrose have built this function into their mobile app so members of staff are sent a notification on their iPads when a customer requests help along with the customer’s location within the store. Implementing location based technology and building location aware apps can be extremely beneficial to retail companies of any kind, with the technology improving the shopping experience for consumers whilst creating opportunities for cutting edge marketing techniques for the business. If you are interested to know more, get in touch and we’ll guide you through the location tracking options and demonstrate how location aware apps could benefit your business.