Location World

The Last Digital Mile


The message at LocationWorld 2016 in New York was loud and clear. Consumers are starting to expect companies and providers to conveniently and seamlessly deliver “the last digital mile” leading to transaction. This will continue to become more of an expectation in the coming years, and if you’re not delivering, consumers will look elsewhere.

Technology advances are allowing location to become the new cookie, integrating with artificial intelligence, augmented reality and more. That means companies and providers are able to interact with people based on where they’re physically located and what they’re doing rather than what web page they’re visiting.

More and more consumers are learning the surprisingly awesome and accurate benefits of location-related conveniences. And although they might seem too good to be true, they’re not, meaning consumers are increasingly willing to allow their devices to be tracked. This is exciting no matter which industry you’re in.

Voice search is exploding with the advent of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and others. For example, instead of calling the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment, consumers will soon ask their virtual assistant to do it for them. Their virtual assistant will navigate a conversation with the health system’s scheduling network to find a common opening on their calendars and report back with the appointment time. And then it will even schedule transportation through Uber. Of course the expectation will be a hiccup-free experience. Although we may be looking into the future a bit, it’s still fun to think about, right?

At the pharmacy, consumers will expect the store location (and its interior) to be mapped on their phones so they can be guided directly to the product they want. Not only will they be able to find what they’re looking for without wasting time walking the aisles, but they may also be served recommendations based on past purchasing habits, their health history, etc.

It will be exciting to watch the rapid adoption of these tremendous location capabilities. And honestly, we haven’t even scratched the surface. While enjoying the ride, we’ll need to remember that delivering with excellence on this “the last digital mile” will very quickly move from being viewed as a cool convenience to an absolute expectation. We’ll need to be willing to take smart risks and also remember that whether we want to be early adopters, or wait until others get the kinks out, there soon will be the expectation that we deliver.

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