The number of searches for local shops on smartphones has increased 30-fold over the past ten years and will continue to increase in 2021. But how can brands maximise the potential of geolocation to anticipate consumer expectations? One thing’s for sure, geofencing is the ideal solution to automate your services and personalise your customer experience!
Geofencing is the creation of a virtual geographic boundary that allows softwares to automatically create a trigger-like response, when a user enters or leaves a given area. It aims to improve customer experience by automating the sending of notifications to the back office and to customers.
The main uses of geofencing in retail:
The time is right to introduce geofencing - with the Internet of Things, smartwatches and smart cars becoming commonplace. According to Mediametrie, 82% of customers are willing to share their geolocations in exchange for consumer benefits. In addition, geofencing is another incentive for users to engage with a brand’s app.
Brands simply need to add a geofencing software development kit (SDK) to their application; it will then manage the chosen geographical areas. Users just need to allow push notifications from the app and the sharing of their geolocation.
A standard geofencing detects when the user enters or leaves a geographical area. But a geofencing 2.0 SDK goes further. It analyses the smartphone’s location data in real time, without the need for a server, in order to identify various metrics, such as:
The SDK analyses these data directly on the smartphone and then shares it with the company’s back office to trigger an event - from preparing an order to sending a personalised promotional notification.
Did you know?
78% of consumers use their smartphones to find information about a local shop.
SMS sent as part of a marketing campaign have a 97% open rate and are often read within 4 minutes of receipt. These calls-to-action have even more impact when they relate to the consumer’s local geographical area.
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Local push notifications are effective because they are personalised and automatic. However, be careful to avoid certain pitfalls which could lead to lost customers. Follow these three recommendations when using geofencing:
- Energy-saving technologies: some applications’ push notifications require a constant Internet connection. Instead, focus on technologies which won’t drain your users’ batteries.
- Actionable data: use, in the app, data of the SDK to improve the customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey.
- Targeted action: send a genuine call-to-action based on the customer’s geolocation, rather than a generic advert. For example, advertise a special promotion in your customer’s usual shop.
Starbucks uses geofencing to send push notifications to their clients when they are in the neighbourhood of their coffee shops. For instance, when it’s the “happy hour” time, their app users receive a notification, informing them about the ongoing promotions, ie, half-priced drinks or other special offers, and inviting them to stop by.
Premium and luxury brands use geofencing in order to upgrade their service level. Apple’s dedicated application enables customers to make an appointment with an advisor and sends an automatic notification when the customer approaches the shop.
Other lavish brands are pushing the concept even further: sales associates are immediately informed about VIPs' shopping profiles and on their preferences, upon their arrival at the store. Since personal insights are key when offering a high-end experience, this helps improve the “white-glove, high-touch” service.
Mass advertising is old-fashioned - brands use location to create unique, personalized and seamless experiences by communicating with your customers at the right time and in the right place.
Fast food: has Click & Collect already become obsolete?
Click & Collect has become the norm for fast food restaurants. In the post-Covid-19 world, restaurant owners are obliged to ensure the safety of their customers and employees, without compromising operations or revenues. With Geofencing 2.0, it further enhances the experience.
One of the largest American company in the fast food sector, a client of ours - launched its Click & Collect service in August 2021 - where customers’ orders were sent to the kitchen as soon as they physically approached the restaurant. There’s no longer the need of queuing up in or outside a store or a kiosk, enter a code or wait for orders to be prepared. Upon the customers’ arrival, the order is ready!
Did you know?
More than 80% of consumers expected to be able to pick up their Click & Collect order in under 10 minutes, with 27 percent expecting less than four minutes. (Source: Bell and Howell study, 2018)
Geofencing removes the need for physical kiosks to place orders. The latter has three key benefits:
- Less time spent waiting in the restaurant
- A drastic reduction in public health risks
- Reduced costs for the roll-out of kiosks
In general, placing an order with an app with geofencing 2.0 results in a 20% increase in the number of orders.
Inspired by Food Tech,would your brand be willing to remove its ordering kiosks and add geofencing to your application?
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