• August 9, 2013

Consumers Like Mobile Apps, Location-Based Services

YP, a local search, media, and advertising company, today released the results of a study that uncovered consumer acceptance of mobile apps that access their current locations.

In the report, titled "Engaging Connected Consumers—Strategies for Local Businesses, Brands, and Retailers," YP notes that nine out of 10 consumers almost always have their mobile devices with them, and 61 percent permit mobile apps to access their current locations at least some of the time.

"The adoption of mobile devices is creating a great opportunity for merchants to connect with consumers in new and meaningful ways," said Darren Clark, chief technology officer at YP, in a statement. "From a marketing perspective, mobile solutions are becoming richer in terms of features and overall user experience, allowing business to have value-add interactions with their customers at any time, on any device. Mobile adds an entirely new dimension to how small businesses can attract and retain customers."

The study also revealed that consumers have strong emotional attachments to the cities and neighborhoods where they live and the local businesses that serve them. Some of the study's findings in this area include the following:

  • One in three respondents was willing to share their social media profiles with local restaurants. One in four was willing to share it with banks or credit card companies.
  • 56 percent reported being excited or very interested to view/read news about local businesses in the area. The top five categories connected consumers are interested in include grocery products, restaurants/bars, clothing/jewelry/accessories, books/magazines/newspapers, and entertainment.
  • When asked they connect to national retailers and local businesses, the only channel in which local businesses are lagging national retailers is mobile apps (35 percent vs. 24 percent).
  • 42 percent reported they've clicked on an ad for a nearby business.
  • 51 percent indicated they have read rat least one reeview of a nearby business in the last 30 days.

And while connected consumers enjoy discovering and trying out new mobile apps and Web sites, they expect the experience to be intuitive and problem-free. Fifty percents of respondents noted that they were very annoyed by Web sites that are hard to view or navigate on their smartphones, and 46 percent were very annoyed by ads sent to their smartphones that aren't relevant.

"To engage consumers, brands, retailers, and local businesses must adopt and excel at strategies that personalize, enable, enhance, and reward customers as they shop for and buy products and services," said Phil Hendrix, immr director and pro analyst at GigaOm, who conducted the study, which involved more than 1,000 smartphone owners ages 21 to 64. "Today's connected consumer is valuable but also has high expectations. As a result, brands, retailers, and local business face an imperative: integrate mobile more fully into their strategies or find themselves slipping behind competitors."

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