Published: April 28, 2010
PEPSICO wants to sell its customers sodas whether they are near a grocery store, a restaurant or a gas station. With a new partnership that weaves its loyalty program into the location-based network Foursquare, PepsiCo gets a live notification when its customers are close to those sites, and can present offers that get them into the stores.
The Pepsi Loot app for the iPhone is intended to drive traffic to restaurants that serve Pepsi products.
Times Topic: Cellphones
“Being able to drive foot traffic into our restaurant partners and our retail partners is a huge opportunity, because that’s where our product is sold,” said B. Bonin Bough, director of social and emerging media for PepsiCo. “Ten blocks mean a lot.”
Through smartphones that signal someone’s location, stores and brands like Starbucks, Tasti-D-Lite, Macy’s and Pepsi are getting live information about when and where people are shopping. Some companies are turning Foursquare into a virtual loyalty-card program, while others are creating their own location applications, offering customers discounts or other rewards for shopping.
“It gives us immediate feedback for what’s going on in the marketplace,” said Margery Schelling, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice. “That’s invaluable.”
A phone is a simple replacement for a wallet stuffed with loyalty cards, but the real appeal for stores is in the location information provided by Foursquare and other location-based applications. Retailers can track when customers actually enter their stores. Such data can be used to learn things about store traffic, such as when men visit versus women. And it’s easier to note when the most loyal customers visit.
“If you check into work, then you leave work, you check into a bank and then you check into a store, that’s a behavior that, in aggregate, we might use to transform the way we market to you in the offline world,” Mr. Bough said. “We might see dayparts that are more likely for you to check out of some place and go to the store, and we might do advertising during that specific daypart in that specific place.”
Because consumers are electing to broadcast their location and signing up for these services, the privacy concerns aren’t enormous, another plus for marketers.
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