Saturday, May 10, 2014

How can location-based social networks impact #dailyhabits and drive O2O commerce?

How are location-based social networks impacting on the mobile internet users' daily habits today and drive O2O commerce? Different LBS players are positioning themselves to ingrain their users' interactions as daily habits, and to influence and facilitate online to offline (O2O) commerce. Flooded with choices of LBS services, consumers will connect and share location-based information if they make sense. Then we come back to basics when voice meets location-based tagged information.

In my last post "How has LBS evolved into the daily habits of consumers and business models for businesses", I compared how 3 leading LBS players in Southeast Asia, Singapore markets - Hungrygowhere, Burpple, Yelp have been positioning themselves in terms of social and commerce value propositions. Not surprisingly so, food appears to be the common thread amongst these 3 players' focus, given the vibrant dining out scene in Asia. The question "Is there a Yelp for Asia?" also brings up a slew of similar players focusing on the food market in Asia.

Take a look at the above table, if we were to take a step back and review how some of these LBS players play in engaging with consumers, and driving Online to Offline or O2O commerce.

(1) Drive Awareness

(2) Search, Compare, Transact
  • Given the vibrant food scene (eating out) mentioned earlier, online and mobile restaurant reservation booking appears to be garnering momentum, as restaurant businesses are realising that consumers are seeking convenience, flexibility and immediacy to gratify their food experiences.
  • Besides Hungrygowhere who provide restaurant booking for consumers online or via mobile, Chope is another leading restaurant reservation booking player in Singapore (and also in Hong Kong), facilitating online booking to offline dining (i.e. O2O commerce).

(3) Loyalty

Coming back to the consumers and their needs, my feeling is that consumers would only look towards having location-based information and connections if these make sense to them in the context of their life's moments. For instance,
  • In Foursquare, these days for me, it is the gamification element in the social leaderboard with friends or the discovery where your friends are which attract. 
  • In the LBS app harpoen, it is the serendipity on what others who have explored an area in your vicinity which attracts.

Finally, we go back to basics and come back to how good old voice is being featured in LBS services. Hearing a voice has been the most personal form of remote mobile communication. And so, no surprise that there are now many mobile social messaging apps having short audio files of chats transmitted walkie-talkie style. Location data is also now tagged onto the voice files to add more contextual relevance to the communication messages. Here are some real-life examples:
  • With Talkbits, a MIM app, it is the voices left behind in a select city which provides local insights and knowledge to people who would like to know more about a neighbourhood or even learn the language as his aspiration is to get to that place one day.
  • With Jabberly, people use their mobile to ask questions about a particular location and get answers quickly from those with boots on the ground.

Globally and perhaps particularly now in Asia, a number of location-based apps, communities and social networks are sprouting in the food scene - food being the typical question for the day and so very much a part in the daily habits of Asia's mobile internet users. From driving awareness to search, comparison, transactions and loyalty, a number of leading LBS players are positioning their offerings to provide value and entrench themselves into the decision-making processes of consumers - driving consumer traffic from online to offline businesses. And finally, it appears that good old voice could well provide opportunities in bridging users from mobile and online content to offline experiences.

Love to hear your thoughts on how location-based social networks impact on the daily habits of the mobile internet users.

Talk soon~
Nelson Wee
Profile: Nelson Wee, Singapore
Twitter: @nelsonwee

PickatSG Food App:

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