Geolocation is now at the core of successful ecommerce strategies. Yet, more value-creation strategies based on geolocation can still be deployed. Philippe MORELL, sales Manager for Woosmap, shares his take on the full potential of geolocation for ecommerce. He also talks about the evolution of customers’ expectations in terms of services and convenience in ecommerce.

What are the advantages of geolocation and geotargeting for an ecommerce website?

Geolocation and geotargeting are key elements for successful ecommerce strategies. They enable the personalisation of content, offers and prices, depending on the consumer’s location. Geolocation can also serve to adapt the selection of the most relevant products. On the consumer side, those strategies contribute to a better customer experience. This translates into less cart abandonment at checkout and bigger Average Basket Sizes and value. Ecommerce website and consumers can also both benefit from improved logistics. With strategies like Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) or other click and collect strategies with partner pickup points.

In fact, many strategies can be built around geolocation and geotargeting. And they all contribute to reassuring the consumers about their choices and smoothing out their shopping experience. Ecommerce websites can also use those approaches to know their consumers better and improve conversion rates by 2.5 with geo-targeted push notifications.

Can you give us examples of personalisation strategies using geolocation and geotargeting?

Woosmap’s Ecommerce Clients span a large variety of markets and verticals with different personalisation strategies. Those clients include Kingfisher, ALL -Accor Live Limitless, TotalEnergies, Décathlon, Sainsbury’s, Fatboy, Opel, AutoHaus König, El Corte Inglès, Maxeda Diy group B. V.

Some of them use differentiation strategies based on regions. For instance, a Gardening and DIY chain can adapt the list of products promoted on its main pages. In some geographic zones, the demand will be higher for gardening and swimming pool equipment. But in other more urban areas, smaller accessories will be more relevant to decorate a balcony.

Other geolocation strategies can be based on the personalisation of visuals. For instance, an insurance or home improvement website can personalise visuals to show homes with regional architectures or roofing. With IP geotargeting, all those strategies are possible at the region or city level.

What services does Woosmap bring to the table to answer the challenges of ecommerce?

We just mentioned IP geotargeting. It is part of a complete set of Woosmap APIs that can be combined to build personalised digital journeys. With Woosmap Localities API, Woosmap Distance API, Woosmap Geofencing SDK, Woosmap Reverse Geocoding and Woosmap Store Search API.

Our geographic platform offers a great granularity of data. With a single interface, support and licence (SaaS mode) to create value for ecommerce professionals. More details in our article: “Locator: the must-have geolocation tool for growing your business”.

We can geolocate a consumer at the city or region level, only based on their IP address. This approach respects the privacy of users, with no requirement to get customer approval to personalise regional elements. And no storage of data. This fine balance between personalisation and granularity enables our clients to get creative on the User Experience side. For instance, with IP Location they can display real-time availability of products or localised prices. At the same time, they always remain within the acceptability limits set by the consumers and the regulators.

Yet, why are some ecommerce websites reluctant to develop advanced geolocation strategies?

Some misconceptions about geolocation and geotargeting remain. Ecommerce players can be afraid to get too intrusive in their customer journey implementation. This comes from a confusion between opt-in geolocation solutions - that require consumer agreements - and IP level geolocation solutions.

Consumers are also willing to share their location if they can get a better and faster service or more relevant product choices. Hence the success of leading international retail platforms that capitalise on their understanding of their clients’ needs. Those insights, that support effective marketing campaigns, require the analysis of data, including geographic data.

For instance, consumers don’t want to waste time at the checkout stage. With the autocompletion of delivery fields, Ecommerce players can gain precious seconds of consumers’ attention span. In an age of accelerated digital journey, this level of speed and convenience directly translates into additional sales with bigger average shopping carts.

Can you highlight the link between the need for speed in ecommerce and geolocation?

Consumers are fast to adopt new behaviours and once they have tasted faster and more reliable services they tend to expect it from all brands and retailers.

For instance “Quick commerce” has now become the norm for grocery and food delivery, with delivery time expectations from 10 min to 1 hour. Ordering groceries online from a nearby store was an emergency solution during the pandemic and has now become a habit for 21% of US consumers (OECD 2022 estimates). Even older generations now embrace the convenience and speed of grocery delivery, with 19% of people over 65 adopting online and mobile platforms for grocery deliveries.

This q-commerce trend has now spread well beyond the food sector. For instance, “Generation Z” also expects quick delivery on “fast fashion”!

Those consumers’ behaviours are also an opportunity for ecommerce players ready to offer better and faster services. Because 50% of shoppers are ready to spend more money to get better services like for instance “buy online pickup instore” (BOPIS) options (Deloitte study).

What advice can you give to ecommerce players who want to rethink their geolocation strategy?

Geolocation is a multi-stage rocket. This means that I would recommend starting with small steps and building additional layers to maximise a fast ROI.

The first step is the checkout stage to improve the conversion rate and average basket value. That’s where ecommerce players can generate the most value, for themselves and their customers.

Our client “Etam Group” implemented that strategy. They operate 1374 fashion retail stores in 55 countries and offer a 360° experience with an omnichannel customer journey. After redesigning the geolocated checkout with Woosmap, their Ecommerce conversion rate increased by more than 50% in a year. (full testimonial by Etam Group)

One possible checkout optimisation strategy is to directly personalise the name of the pickup points with the closest stores or partner locations, depending on the location of the customer. To avoid breaks in the customer journey, ecommerce players should keep track of those choices. Meaning that if customers chose of delivery point during a shopping session they would expect to not have to fill this information again the next time they visits the website.

To add more stages to their geolocation strategy rocket, I would recommend that ecommerce players adopt an A/B testing approach. They could start with personalising content for just a part of their audience, based on their location, and measuring the impact on sales.

Knowing what their customers value the most will help ecommerce players activate the most effective levers. For instance, some customers prefer delivery with guaranteed timing in a chosen location. They value a reliable and convenient alternative rather than the promise of an at home delivery in less than 24 hours. Because this way they won’t have to wait anxiously by the door to avoid "porch pirates".

How can ecommerce players build those geolocation strategies with their delivery partners?

Advanced geolocation strategies are not limited to the localisation of consumers. Because APIs can also enable ecommerce players to localise their delivery team or delivery partners on a map, to build value strategies.

For instance delivery specialists like FedEx, TNT or Chronofresh offer delivery tracking services, with notification of delivery, rescheduling options, and choice of delivery points. Those services can be integrated as APIs in the back-office of ecommerce players. The vast majority of consumers now expect those advanced services and are now “hooked” on tracking services. 90% of US consumers now actively track their packages, and even 20% track them multiple times per day (2022 Study by Verte).

What can we anticipate for the future of geolocation in e-commerce?

With tracking and geolocation, customers will have access to new delivery services. For instance, Mobile SDK can track the exact time of delivery of a package. This service can be linked to a physical delivery box or delivery pod at the consumer’s address or in a nearby space. To guarantee the delivery of the package, the delivery person must flash a code inside the box and his presence on site is verified with a geofencing API.

We expect more brands to offer this level of real-time information about deliveries to their customers, with real-time mapping and ETA calculation. Major European retailers already offer this service, with delivery estimates accurate to one minute, based on calculations with their trucking partners and traffic conditions.

This level of real-time geolocation can also be used to improve fraud detection. For instance with a customer-approved double-check of transactions based on mobile detection in a geofenced zone.

It is also in the best interest of ecommerce players to use those delivery data to optimise their own logistics and their carbon footprint associated with transport. Brands need to integrate this environmental factor into their strategy to optimize their costs and also appeal to more eco-conscious consumers.

Do you want to integrate geolocation into your customer journey to reduce conversion time? Open your Woosmap free account today. 


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