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GUEST COMMENT Five ways to revolutionise retail with geo-location

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The landscape of retail is changing fast with ever more inventive ways of using location-based services. Even though its benefits were initially difficult to prove, retailers were quick to champion this technology for greater returns, thanks to the advantages of a more intimate and real-time knowledge of their existing and potential customers.

Let’s delve into five creative ways that your brand can use geo-location to optimise its targeting strategies and drive sales as well as customer loyalty.

1. Become a digital publisher

Let’s imagine a makeup brand embracing beacon technology that can tell who is where in a given store, as well as what they looked at and what they purchased. Your brand can advertise on a department store’s mobile site or app, targeting women on their smartphone just as they enter the beauty and makeup floor. At Cheetah Ad Platform, we have also seen brands successfully monetise their own app through both in-app advertising and by selling (anonymous) information about its customers’ interests to product distributors.

These two techniques, borrowed from the digital publishing world, can help maximise revenue in your brand’s physical and digital space.

2. Know where your customers are

Geo-fencing technology means marketers can forget about conducting inefficient focus groups to assess a campaign’s impact. You can now harness GPS technology to find the perfect audience, target them with precision and insight, and later measure the effectiveness of your efforts. If they are already in-store, then sending an opt-in promotion by text could ensure they leave with a new purchase. If they are in the neighbourhood, the right ad on Facebook can bring them in-store, where it is easy to push sales in the traditional way. Measure what works best and adapt your strategy accordingly.

A brand’s campaign can now pivot around and adapt to every unique consumer’s exact location, which immediately makes your message more relevant to them.

3. Target to perfection

Geo-location targeting can be used city-wide to identify a smaller, specific customer group. Let’s take as an example women in London who browse a particular clothing brand on Pinterest. Firstly, you deliver an ad at city level for jumpers and warm hats during the winter months. By identifying which women interact with the ads, you have created a specific customer group with intent to buy. The second step is to then track which of those women enter that brand’s physical store. At this point, you seal the deal by sending them a 20% discount offer – and measure to ensure these efforts led to a sale conversion.

Remember that in-door geo-location fails to identify the reason why a customer has entered a store, so without narrowing down your audience you may target incorrectly and lose both customers and sales.

4. Reach beyond the shop floor

We already know that in-store data can tell you a woman has visited Selfridgeson Oxford Street to look at summer dresses and gone to the changing room several times. But what if she walks out without buying? Selfridges has a short window of opportunity before totally losing this potential sale – so it can send her an ad featuring the season’s most popular summer dresses, with a £5 voucher to spend online in the next 48 hours.

In-store data can identify the customer’s precise need based on behaviour and location, and allows you to close a deal even once the customer is out the door.

5. Maximise your data

Combining geo-location data and past purchasing behaviour provides endless possibilities for retailers. Brands can intimately understand a customer’s taste and shopping tendencies, in order to predict future behaviour, such as whether they are more likely to buy full price or during a sale. Based on these insights, you can send hyper-relevant messages to individual customers and secure their loyalty to your brand. Personalised emails are a great example: if you are an online retailer, you can notify a customer that, for example, those new speakers have gone on sale – the very ones that were previously saved in their basket.

Here at Cheetah Ad Platform, we have seen that location-based technologies are allowing retailers to learn more and more about their existing and potential customers’ tastes and behaviours. Marketers can now stay one step ahead by delivering the right offer at the right place and time, which gives them the best chance of sealing the deal on the shop floor and beyond.

Cristina Constandache is VP business partnerships, EMEA & Americas, Cheetah Ad Platform

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