Imagine: You walk into your favorite retail outlet. As soon as you walk through the door, the sales manager greets you by name, discusses the product you were researching earlier in the day on the Internet, and shows you some additional products you might be interested in. This idea isn’t far-off; achieving this level of offline/online connection is becoming more and more possible with the location services offered by mobile apps.

Location-based marketing is the ultimate tool for nailing time and place: it allows businesses to promote their products and services in order to find the right market placement, and for their customers to receive tailored treatment based on their interests and needs. These include geo-targeting, geo-fencing and the newest player on the field, beaconing. Through push notifications and promotional pop-up messages, these services allow businesses to leverage their strongpoints to enhance their consumers’ experience and boost their revenues.

Companies are building unified customer records that match the mobile device you use with any browser you open and are logged into on their site. Combining proximity-based strategies with mobile applications and robust customer data hubs is resulting in some amazing technology that will transform the online-offline relationship between customers and retailers.

Sales are down at a nearby store, so they target advertising across social and mobile to reach you with some offers. You click-through on the store site, do some browsing and see a couple products of interest. You put them in the shopping cart, but you don’t make the purchase. A few days later, you drive within a few miles of the store. Up pops a text message or mobile push alert letting you know there are no lines at the store, and since you’re a great customer, you could stop by for an instant discount.

The mobile application on your phone has Bluetooth beacon technology and the store’s app installed. As you near the front door of the store, the system identifies you and instantly sends a notification to store manager. They open up their mobile application and see your photo, your browsing history, your purchases, as well as your latest social engagements. The relationship was just taken to a new level!

So… you were geo-targeted with advertising, geo-fenced with a text message, and then connected in the store through the beacon technology. Pretty cool stuff! Here’s a great infographic from Apps Builder that describes the differences, along with some benefits and results.