Local media companies are in the midst of transitioning from traditional to digital revenue streams. As this is happening, consumers are using their phoneinstoresmartphones more frequently while in the store on a shopping trip. This change in behavior poses yet another threat to local media companies according to Michael Depp who writes for NetNewsCheck.

Depp bases his analysis on presentations made at Place, a technology summit held recently on the topic of indoor marketing. Businesses like the idea of indoor marketing. The technology can be a tool to counteract the effects of showrooming. For example, while a consumer is looking at a particular product in the store, indoor marketing systems can be at work to serve up a coupon for that product, scoring a sale for the retailer. By encouraging consumers to use apps, stores can track details like which items appear most frequently on their shopping lists.

Indoor marketing will not be based on geotargeting because GPS technology doesn’t work well inside. However, tech wizards believe that Wi-Fi, RFID or LED lights can be used for tracking purposes. Several tracking systems are already at work in malls across the U.S. and the paths of shoppers are being studied, not for marketing purposes, but for store layout changes.

Industry experts say that if and when all of the necessary tech tools come together to put good indoor marketing systems in place, retailers may have to contend with shoppers who may protest at being tracked.  One way to ameliorate the protests will be to explain the benefits of tracking – targeted offers and discounts, for example. And, there’s also the question of who will pay for the in-store marketing systems. While retailers obviously will lead the charge, Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association, believes that brand owners or manufacturers may want to support the effort with co-op money.

Analysts are concerned that this trend could take another chunk out of marketer spending on local media space as they shift those funds into apps they own and manage. What do you think? Are we nearing the time when indoor marketing is ready to take off?