updated 02:25 pm EST, Sun January 26, 2014
Customers could get free travel to business locations
Online advertising could offer viewers free travel to businesses in the future, based on a recently-granted patent. The filing, titled "Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions," suggests a way for a system that can provide free or discounted transit of a customer to a physical location, in order for the customer to buy products or to try out a service.
The patent would take into account a number of factors before making the offer, reports Slashdot. The transportation methods available to the potential customer will be looked at, as well as the cost, the frequency of the customer getting free rides, and similar competing offers from other advertisers to transport the customer to their locations instead. If Google's autonomous cars gain more traction, a self-driving taxi could be used to get the customer from a dedicated kiosk or their currently-recorded location in a smartphone app to the business.
The entire idea of taking the customer to the store to buy products appears to suggest that brick-and-mortar retailers may not entirely lose out to home delivery services in the future, and would be extremely useful for companies that cannot easily offer courier-based product deliveries. Suggested applications for the system include competing casinos offering free transport to high-spending gamblers along with various benefits when they arrive, and a restaurant suggesting the customer could have a discounted meal after a discounted taxi ride.