The release of Apple iOS 10 is more than a software update. iOS 10 is a reminder of why brands need to adapt to the on-demand economy to succeed with location marketing.
Apple has unleashed a slew of features with iOS 10, such as the ability to transcribe phone messages automatically. Three features in particular give businesses a glimpse at how the customer journey continues to increase in velocity:
Apple Maps Powers Location Marketing
Apple Maps have matured overnight as a location marketing powerhouse in a number of ways:
- The addition of third-party extensions, which allows users to order services such as Uber rides and Open Table restaurant reservations. The addition of extensions is especially interesting to SIM Partners in the wake of our announcement that our Velocity platform enables clients to add a “Ride there with Uber” button to their location pages. As we noted earlier, businesses ranging from Nordstrom to Walmart are partnering with Uber to provide on-demand delivery, to cite just one example of how the on-demand economy is permeating location-based services. The iOS 10 update is important because apps form the lifeblood of the mobile world. Apple knows that bread-and-butter apps such as Apple Maps are crucial to ensure the uptake of these services. Apple is riding a wave.
- Improved functionality includes the ability for travelers to add stops (such as restaurants and gas stations) to their Apple Maps route, detour, and then find their original location without having to complete a whole new route plan. Adding stops creates a great branding opportunity for storefronts close to popular routes so long as they share their location data with Apple.
- Richer “near me” display: when you open the Apple Maps app and tap the search box, you are presented with six near me options instead of the three that appeared previously. The additional display real estate also makes Apple Maps a more attractive branding platform for businesses whose data management strategy includes Apple as a publishing platform.
Takeaway: if you haven’t been taking Apple Maps seriously as an amplifier of your location data you need to rethink your strategy. Consider Apple one of the crucial data amplifiers (along with publishers such as Google and aggregators such as Neustar Localeze).
Spotlight Search Autocompletes “Near Me” Searches
If you use Spotlight Search to a search for a category, say, “restaurants,” Spotlight Search autocompletes “near me” and displays options via links to Apple Maps. Although earlier iterations of Spotlight Search included nearby locations via Apple Maps links, the autocompletion of “near me” searches appears to be a new feature. Apple is now following Google’s lead, which was autopopulating near me searches months ago, as my colleague Adam Dorfman noted. Here is another sign that location marketing is not only more prevalent, but more mobile and immediate.
Takeaway: are you treating location data as an asset to be unleashed across the universe of apps and discovery modes where near me searches occur?
Predictive Emojis Are Here
As you type messages, Apple suggest emojis to that can replace your words easily, thus eliminating the time it takes to find and insert the appropriate emoji to fit your message. Predictive emojis are like text autocomplete, and with Apple adding 100 new emojis, there is more visual content to sprinkle into your messages. Consider the function to be a nudge to people who rely on text to communicate with businesses and each other: emojis are here to stay as a way to communicate. Domino’s Pizza already got the message: in 2015, Domino’s made it possible to order pizzas with emojis on Twitter.
Takeaway: Consider emojis to be visually appealing “buy buttons.” Emojis make it easier and faster for consumers to get what they want when they want it. Inevitably, consumers are going to make more complex orders with emojis. How are you integrating emojis and other forms of visual content into the way you communicate with consumers at a local level?
Siri and iMessage Integrate with Apps
Apple is making it possible for developers to create apps that work inside iMessage and Siri, which opens up many commercial uses of both. As reported in The Telegraph, “[iMessage app integration] means services for ordering food, shopping, travel and so on will be integrated within iMessage. And one of the best features: You’ll be able to send money back and forth.” Third-party development with Siri has a number of intriguing possibilities as voice-based search continues to take hold, especially with the uptake of wearables (such as Apple Watch) and smarter cars. Indeed, as noted in Gizmodo, some apps such as Lyft have Siri built into them.
Takeaway: brands have opportunities to gain traction with on-demand services via these frictionless channels. Now is the time to get on board, especially if your business lends itself to services such as product ordering and booking of services.
Emojis, apps, maps, and Spotlight Search: they’re part of the fabric of an omnichannel, on-demand world in which consumers make rapid decisions about what to buy and where to buy through quick micro-moments of discovery on their mobile phones. Businesses that integrate these features into their location marketing strategies will turn micro-moments into next moments of commerce for their brick-and-mortar storefronts.
The first step to succeeding in this emerging world is to build a foundation with location data. When you treat location data as a competitive asset, managed and unleashed to data amplifiers such as Apple, you set up your brand to be visible everywhere near-me searches occur — whether a consumer is texting, speaking or using an emoji to find you.
Gib Olander is vice president of product at Chicago-based SIM Partners.