We've all heard the hype about the way mobile phones are impacting the retail landscape around the world. The ubiquity of mobile phones is a game-changer. Mobile is the next revolution. Online/offline crossovers are the next great marketing channel. The list of aphorisms goes on, but up until now, aside from check-in kings Foursquare, not many services have been able to capitalise on this much-touted mobile advertising revolution. In coming months that may change thanks to a new location-based system cleverly named 'Earshot'.
Earshot, while billed as a social media CRM (customer relations management) solution, allows companies to create location-based advertisements and social interactions with customers, based on the geolocation information supplied by their mobile device. As a potential customer moves throughout a city, tweeting or posting on Facebook, Earshot filters through the multiplicity of social media feeds for posts that are both relevant to client businesses and located near brick and mortar stores - in other words, within 'earshot' of the storefront itself.
This novel solution to the question of targeted advertising in the real world has the potential to gain real traction, especially within retail sectors based around impulse purchases. High volume shopping days - especially those such as today's Black Friday bonanzas and other holiday sales events - would be perfect applications for Earshot, when many stores run out of inventory for high demand items. Disappointed customers venting their frustration on Twitter could be contact by smaller stores who still have the sought-after item in stock.
The rapid pace at which mobile is impacting the retail world makes it impossible to ignore. Companies who are ever ready to try implementations of new technological innovations are almost guaranteed to be the forward thinkers who will gain a competitive advantage over their entire industry. Technologies like Earshot will become even more widespread as the idea catches on and it's forced to deal with its own competitors, but in the mean time, a savvy company that combined Earshot with a well-executed competitor price monitoring solution would be extremely well positioned in their market, possibly even dominating their retail sector in their city.