SoLoMo applied – a student homework excercise

SoLoMo is the latest industry buzz word these days. But what really is this and how can it be applied? SoLoMo stands for Social Local Mobile. It is blending social media, location-aware technology for marketing, and mobile device usage which offers opportunities to retailers, marketers and consumers.And that sounds rather abstract, doesn’t it? So I thought maybe this comes to life when choosing an everyday scenario and building SoLoMo use case along that. And that is what I did with the help of students.

I recently had the chance to do a guest lecture at Wiesbaden Business School. Thanks to Peter Krause who invited me to his course “Consumer Markets and Buyer Behavior” of the Master of International Business Administration class of 2013. I felt honored.
And so I went and spoke about two things.

  1. The mega trends that lead to Location technology becoming a key ingredient in marketing and business processes.
  2. The very basics of Location Based Services. How we here at Nokia (where I work) build digital maps, how positioning, geocoding, mapping, routing, traffic work and how all this is linked to each other.

However the interesting part came at the end of 90 minutes. It was the homework I asked the students to complete. Here it is.

Imagine the relationship and touch points between a technophile housekeeping consumer and a drugstore retail chain.
Think about how the retailer can create a consumer experience that leverages location aware smart phones and in-store technology to increase consumer spend, loyalty, and satisfaction.
Don’t limit yourself by what is currently technologically possible!

Think about the whole consumer experience from both, the consumer and retailer point of view. What does each want to achieve?
Think along the time span from consuming drugstore items at home, planning for the next store visit, the store visit itself, and the time after the store visit.

I showed the below picture to illustrate how consumers and retailers are separated by time and space in their own thinking and doing, that they come together at the store (where the love has to happen!), only to then separate again into their own thinking and doing.Where the magic happens

Write up user stories in the following format:

As a <type of user>,
I want <some goal>
so that <some reason>.

For example:
As a consumer, I want to be notified of special offers as I enter the store so that I can save money.

I had use case templates printed out for the students as I wanted to hang up all use cases on the board along the two paths I have illustrated above. So I handed those out at the end. I said good-bye, packed up and here is what we did the week after.

One week later the students had done their homework. I chalked up the two intersecting lines and asked the students to walk up and pin their use cases to the board. Pre-purchase use cases went up left, at the store use cases in the middle and post-purchase ones on the right. Consumer use cases went to the top, retailer/enterprise uses cases to the bottom of the board.


WBS-IBA_use-cases-pointsWe went through all the use case and briefly discussed how each ties in Location, where the benefit and the value for consumers and retailer is. The students also came up with two use cases from a products company point of view.
After the discussion I asked each student to assign three points to the use cases they liked best, see the highest potential, or easiest to implement.
And they did. What was the outcome?

Here are the use cases. Unfiltered, all of them. Grouped by point of view. Sorted by points awarded by the students {point in brackets}.


  • As a consumer, I want to get electronic (phone) ticket [receipt] of purchase with some cumulative points so that I have some discount for next purchase and save environment (by using less paper). {2}
  • As a consumer, I want to be guided through the store so that I’m shopping all the products in my shopping list quickly. {0}
  • As a consumer, I want to know where in the store I can find new things that mirror my shopping behavior so that I can find new interesting things that fit to my interests. {0}
  • As a consumer I want to be directed to my desired products in the shop so that I don’t waste time looking for the right aisle, spot, etc. {0}
  • As a consumer, I want to be frequently updated on new offers so that I can save money. {0}
  • As a consumer, I want to know price and availability of my product in advance so that I can compare with other offers. {0}
  • As a customer, I want to know which skin care products fit best to my skin so that I don’t have problems with my skin any longer (test on website of drugstore). {0}
  • As a mother [consumer], I want to get information about the availability of a list of baby products so that I can plan my shopping route before leaving home. {0}


  • As a retailer I want to send special offers to customers when they check-in somewhere else so that I can give them context-based offers from my product range. {7}
  • As a retailer, I want to know how much do I need to refill with a code so that we save time doing that. {6}
  • As a retailer, I want to keep in touch with my customers so that I can tell him when there is a special offer for his favorite product. {2}
  • As a retailer, I want to know how much people stand in front of my store and how much went inside so that I can improve my advertisement in front of the store. {0}
  • As a retailer, I want to make to customer conscious [aware] where to find new products so that he will have a unique shopping experience in my shop. {0}
  • As a retailer, I want to use  consumer shopping lists to stock up in time or convert them to get items shipped (if they are not in store) so that revenues, profit, and consumer satisfaction are maximized. {0}
  • As a retailer, I want to know when a certain customer buys something (and how much) so that I am not running out of stock. {0}

Products Company

  • As a producer [products company] e.g. for shampoo, I want that my new products are located in the drugstore map (with their position and a special sign) so that customers pay immediate attention to the new products and buy it. {4}
  • As a producer, I want location store interactions with “free consumer offers” so that my consumers are satisfied. {3}

There are a lot of uses cases that don’t tie in location at all. You could use that to proof either one or all of the following points.

  1. Location technology is still new and has not yet become a major element of what is taught to students. (Although I tried to change that with my lecture!)
  2. It takes more than a single guest lecture to get students (or anyone really) to grasp Location and inspired them to think creatively how to embed it into marketing and business processes.
  3. Location isn’t really that important in something as mundane as buying drugstore items.

What do you think?

Feel free to add your feedback, thinking, and use cases in the comments.

P.S. Meanwhile Rossmann, a German drugstore retail chain has kicked-off a “check-in for charity” campaign. Read more about it on the Foursquare Blog.