5 Ways to Use Geo-Location Data to Transform Your Retail Marketing Strategy
Mobile has completely transformed the retail landscape. According to Pew’s October 2015 research, 68% of Americans have smartphones and 45% have tablet computers. Mobile ownership is growing at record speeds, giving retailers unprecedented opportunities to target consumers by their geolocation data. The ability for mobile devices to track and report a person’s location in real time with a reliable degree of accuracy continues to evolve as new technologies continue to revolutionize the mobile landscape.
Here’s a look at 5 ways retailers to boost customer acquisition and retention by tapping into a consumer’s geolocation data.
Beacon technology allows brands to pinpoint where a customer is at any given moment, and then send them push notifications with coupons, promotions or other targeted offers. The use of beacons is further transforming the shift to mobile commerce by providing immediate relevancy and value to customers. For example, a clothing retailer store may send a promotion to a consumer near their location or while the individual is visiting a competitor.
A study conducted by beacon platform Swirl found that 73 percent of shoppers who received a beacon-triggered message on their smartphone said it increased their likelihood of making a purchase during a store visit, while 61 percent said the message would prompt them to visit the store more often.
You may have been heard the term micro-moments more frequently lately. As Google states, “Mobile has forever changed the way we live, and it’s forever changed what we expect of brands. It’s fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.”
Google’s research indicates:
- 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store.
- 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.
- 90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress toward a long term goal or multi-step process while “out and about.”
- 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day.
Retail brands must take steps to get in front of consumers with relevant content during these micro-moments. Studies have shown that retailers can increase brand awareness by 46% simply by showing up in mobile search ad results. Additionally, 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones.
Make sure your content strategy is mobile optimized for all stages of the customer journey. Use a variety of content to increases engagement and awareness such as ad targeting, prominently displayed customer reviews, YouTube videos, social posts, visual content, how-to articles, and optimization of local search results.
Geo-Targeted Mobile Ads
Geo-targeting services from Google, Yahoo!, and MSN allow advertisers to allocate search campaign resources at a local level. With geo-targeting options available today, audiences can be targeted at the country, state, city, and ZIP code level to determine the best potential ad placements. Google AdWords has also created a geo-targeting feature: income location targeting. This gives advertisers the capability to target consumers based on their income levels zip code.
Some great examples of how geo-targeted ad serving can be used include:
- New store location: Send digital ads to the households within a certain radius surrounding the new location.
- Established customers: If you have the mailing address of established customers, you can expand your multi-channel strategies with digital ads directed to them with offers and coupons for being a valued customer.
- Fall Rush, a big-box retailer needed to reach college students with offers on tablets and other electronics. They identified IP addresses to target colleges by campus, down to specific venues such as a student union or large lecture hall. They reached students across the country with ads containing offers, pricing and creative customized by region. Students in key markets saw the most relevant ads. (Neustar)
- A wireless retailer in Las Vegas wanted to reach consumers near six local stores. They utilized ZIP+4 neighborhood IP data to reach local shoppers with the latest phone offers to drive in-store traffic. The retailer was able to factor in local preferences, product sales histories and inventory levels. The result was a true hyper-local marketing campaign. (Neustar)
Geolocation and the Customer Experience
Geolocation technologies can be used in innovative ways to enhance the mobile customer experience. By understanding who your target audience is and what they value, retailers can implement strategies to wow and delight mobile users. A great example of a company doing this is Taco Bell, who has implemented strategies to reach its target audience – Millennials.
Taco Bell has developed a keen understanding of its customer base including what they value and how they behave. For example, Jeff Jenkins, senior manager of mobile experience at Taco Bell, is able to note such details as “more than 60 percent of Taco Bell orders are customized.” Taco Bell has implemented geolocation mobile marketing to give its customers easy options to place and receive their order as soon as they arrive. Taco Bell enables customers to order in advance via its mobile app. The app has a “GPS locator that will tell the kitchen when a customer who has placed an order is nearby so it can have the order ready and still hot when the customer arrives.”
A variety of retailers and companies across industries are implementing mobile apps such as this to enhance the customer experience with geolocation strategies.
Technology to Identify Actual Consumers – Not Just Their Devices
As mobile capabilities and technologies become even more advanced, retailers now have the ability to identify actual consumers by their mobile devices. Retailers have access to numerous technologies to target consumers by market segments and devices, but very little technology has traditionally been available to target the actual people connected to these devices.
Today’s technologies are now able to identify EXACTLY which consumers are visiting competitors or a brand’s own brick-and-mortar locations. A retailer can identify actual, not modeled, persona profiles of real consumers including cross-channel contact data, demographic characteristics, and other key insights for hyper-targeted messaging. First and third party audience data is combined with mobile location data so specific in-market consumers can be targeted during the “moment of truth”.
To learn more great tips and strategies on how to adapt to today’s omnichannel consumer expectations download our free Retail Marketing Guide.