I watched a short video this past weekend on Business Insider that featured Shopkick co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding who spoke about location-based services (LBS). In the video, Roeding provided a simple explanation that mobile LBS applications generate value for retailers by generating traffic. True and personally not too surprising consider how I noticed that my initial interaction with Foursquare was an odd game where I felt motivated to consume by checking-in at new places.
While earning points or rewards can make the check-in experience entertaining and interactive, LBS applications take it a step further by allowing shoppers to expose a storefront and/or products to an entire network of friends. Knowing that we tend to socialize with friends with similar values, tastes and interests, retailers can expect that the exposure will not only bring foot traffic but it will actually attract shoppers that are motivated to make similar purchases. Considering that retail sales were relatively flat in August according to MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse (August 2010), retailers should be looking for every trick in the book to encourage consumers to open up their wallets this final quarter of the year and beyond.
I recently upgraded my iPhone 3GS to the new iOS4. And after using it for the past 24 hours, I’ve found that it changed only a few things. Sorry Steve Jobs — it isn’t revolutionary! The primary change that I immediately liked is the folders or application organization capability but even that is limiting. The 5 screens of apps on my iPhone have been reduced down to only three. Unfortunately, folders can hold up to 12 applications at a time. With this design, a user doesn’t have to scroll to access more apps but it also means that the 16+ games that my boys play couldn’t fit nicely into their own little container. Granted, I have quite a bit more room to spare at the bottom of each application screen but things aren’t as tight as I wish that they could be.
Last year, Apple acquired streaming music service Lala.com. Lala was unique in that members could listen to new tracks in their entirety (iTunes only allows you to listen to a clip) and then purchase the rights to stream the song for pennies. Timing of the deal was suspicious as Apple swooped in just as Lala announced the pending approval of their iPhone app, which would allow members to access their music catalog via an iTouch or iPhone. While some question Apple’s motive to make the deal (because as a standalone service Lala would pose a competitive threat to iTunes), most expected to Apple bring Lala into the iTunes Store “fold” and give members a choice to either purchase music download or streaming rights.