Retail marketing geo-locationAdding mobile marketing today is an essential part of your retail marketing mix. And geo-targeting is the best way to use mobile for regional retailers with brick and mortar stores. It is how you will be able to get your message to someone who is actively seeking your product or service right now.

Only about 1% of Millennials will say that they are influenced by ads. In fact, most people actively avoid advertising and click off the second they see them. However, a recent study by Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 46 times a day. To get around advertising fatigue, geo-targeting offers retailers a way to hone in and offer their customers relevant information when they are most likely to need it.

Mobile retail shoppingIn today’s digital world, cell phones and mobile devices allow consumers to access anything they want from almost anywhere in the world. Which is why having your brand optimized for multiple devices, especially mobile devices, is essential.

However, you don’t want to be blasting your customers with irrelevant information 24/7.  With geo-targeting, retailers are able to add value and create a more customer-centric experience by pinpointing a shopper’s location and sending them personalized messaging at precisely the time when they need it and not when they don’t.

For example, sending a sale coupon to someone’s phone when they are at the mall where your store is located is going to be far more effective that sending it to them while they are at home sitting down to dinner with their families.

According to a recent Google study, 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones before making a purchase while they’re out shopping. Geo-targeting puts your business right in front of them when they do.

There are 3 major types of geo-targeting:

  1. Geo-Aware Ads: These are ads based on the real-time location of the user.
  2. Geo-Fencing: Sets a perimeter around a location and sets ads in that area.
  3. Geo-Conquesting: Similar to geo-fencing, but sets a perimeter around competitors.

Facebook iconFacebook’s hyper-local geo-targeting feature changes the relationship between retailers and their customers by offering a way to send even more personalized retail marketing messages than traditional media. Retailers can set up a 1 to 50-mile perimeter outside of their stores and can exclude the places where their ads don’t make sense.

By finding correlations between specific locations and their customers, geo-targeting helps retailers catch shoppers when they're closer to their purchase decisions. Marketers can set a perimeter and define when and where to send messaging to their target audience's mobile devices. This is good for retailers and also saves time and money for their customers.   

Here are some examples of how retailers can use geo-targeting to offer next-level customer service in a digital world:

  • Letting customers know about a sale or to “hurry in!” because there is no wait time in the lines at their store.
  • Retailers can reward customers with loyalty incentives for shopping at specific times. This can help create a steady stream of shoppers all day instead of having everyone crowding the store after work.
  • If you know of a location where your company can fulfill specific needs or wants. Such as a coat company targeting a ski resort, or a sun tan lotion store targeting the beach.
  • Exclude areas that you know your target audience will not be. Such as a furniture company not including hotels and resorts it it’s perimeter since no one there has a home nearby.
  • Time perimeters can target college students returning to school for the fall and exclude them when they are away for the summer.
  • If your perimeter is defined by distance, you can target customers going for a 10-minute walk on their lunch break and not the people farther away.
  • Location specific keywords for paid ad searches mean that your customers don’t have to be in the designated area in order to see your ads.
  • Predict your audience by geography. For example, Detroit is hockey-town and using that insight for keywords and messaging may be helpful.
  • If something happens in an area such as weather, news or pop culture- geo-targeting makes it easier to create messaging for the people around that event.
  • Use search history to discover your customer’s intent. Such as, if they have been searching for an upcoming vacation, a store in that area could use that data to deliver valuable coupons and information to that person while they are traveling.

Beacon tech - shoe offerShoppers are less likely to tune out advertising that is timely and has more personalized incentives. However, location-based services like geo-targeting must be allowed by the customer. Retailers need to make sure that they are doing their research and tracking which ads work best and where they are working best. That way they can be adjusted accordingly to prioritize their best locations and messages. When done right, geo-targeting can create better, more customer-centric relationships with your customers. Good luck! If you have any tidbits about geo-targeting, we would love for you to join the conversation below. 

Sarah Knight_HeadshotSarah Knight, looking for coupons in all the right places

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