Consumer behavior is subject to constant change. Different environmental factors influence the shopper’s decisions. An example for this are technological innovations like smartphones, which nowadays have become more than just mere communication tools, but personal accessories and status symbols. Their persuasive nature and their seemingly infinite extension via mobile applications, so called apps, provide advantages not only to the consumers but also hold great potential for businesses. One possible mobile marketing strategy uses location based services (LBS), which take the user’s position into account to present relevant information to him. Currently the AIONAV Systems AG is developing a LBS app including indoor navigation and context aware advertising for the Swiss retail chain MigrosGenossenschafts-Bund. The objective of this thesis was to determine consumer acceptance of a LBS app in the retail environment and identify features which add value to the system for clients as well as for the retailer.
For these reasons, two studies were conducted. The first one was based upon the qualitative research approach named Grounded Theory. A general interview guide was designed for data collection. The main aims of this study were to identify how the shopping behavior of the interview partners has changed within the last years, which factors exert influence on the consumer acceptance of a LBS app in the retail environment and which features are desired by customers. Overall, fifteen test subjects were questioned. The second study was a usability test of the mobile app aisle411. The application provides various features which are intended to facilitate shopping. Among these features is the creation of mobile shopping lists, the retrieval of a product’s position within in a store as well as additional product information and the search for recipes. Since the app is not available within Europe, a remote usability test was conducted using participants located in the United States of America. The different tasks, which were designed to test the functionalities of the system in regard to their usability, were presented to the test subjects through a website. The data collection was carried out through an online survey.
The qualitative interviews showed that for the majority of consumers their shopping behavior has changed in regard to the products they purchase as well as their increased search for offers. Further usability was identified as the crucial factor for determining consumer acceptance. Additionally, the relevance of reliability as well as usefulness concerning this matter could be established. The last finding which is to be mentioned, relates to the desired features. These tend to be personalized offers in accordance with the changes of consumer behavior. However, the amount and method of the advertising message determines whether it is perceived as useful or intrusive. Regarding the usability test, the participants were overall content with the app aisle411. Nevertheless, three usability problems were identified. First, the creation of the shopping list confused some of the test subjects, second, the navigation inside the store was unclear and third, the icon which was used for the bar code scanner did not resemble its functionality. VI In conclusion, the most relevant factor, when designing a LBS application for the retail environment is usability. Furthermore, consumers expect an app to function correctly and create value for them. Especially personalized offers are among the features users demand. If all the necessary criteria are met, LBS provide a great chance for retailers to increase their sales volume as well as facilitate brand awareness.