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I've rounded up what I think are the most intriguing examples of geofencing.

The list includes retailers but also other sectors such as leisure and education.

Take a look, because this is an area that almost any company could surely find a compelling use case for.

vouchercloud

Those with the vouchercloud app on their smartphones will be served a voucher when they are within 200m of a participating store.

At the moment in the UK this includes Hotel Chocolat, Loch Fyne, Papa Johns, Prezzo, Strada and Subway.

vouchercloud has reported clickthrough rates of 45%, which if consistent across the service represents a phenomenal opportunity to revitalise the generic voucher companies out there.

In this case, the retailers can amend strategy and offers within the vouchercloud platform itself.

voucher cloud notification

Uber

At the moment, Uber uses geofencing at LAX almost as a defensive measure. That's because private hire cars from networks like Uber aren't licensed to pick up passengers at this airport (apart from the app's luxury service, which is commercially licensed and insured).

Therefore Uber uses a geofence outside of the pickup area, where drivers can wait for fares. The Daily Breeze reports that this has caused tension among drivers as there's no queueing system in place for the drivers, so some are getting fares in front of others who have waited longer, due to the nature of the app.

Aside from this use, to protect its drivers from breaking regulations, there's potentially a game changing use for geofencing at airports where Uber can operate.

As David Klein, lead UX designer at Moovweb, eloquently lays out in this post on Medium, iBeacons could be used in San Francisco airport, for example, to garner business for Uber.

When users land and turn on their phones, they can be served a push notification inviting them to order a cab in a situation when they often forget about Uber.

hypothetical uber notification

Walmart

Walmart's app has a Store Mode that, amongst other things, responds to geofencing around stores, and delivers coupons and e-receipts.

With one in five of Walmart's online purchases picked up in store, this geofencing tactic can persuade those customers to spend more in stores.

walmart app walmart app

Yik Yak

Yik Yak is a social network without friend groups. The app uses geographical data to create a local bulletin board to which anyone in the surrounding 1.5 miles can post.

Interestingly, the app has been using geofencing to protect its reputation and block anyone using the app in the vicinity of schools. This is because the app was being misused by bullies, thus garnering unwanted criticism for the creators of the service.

yik yak

The British Open Golf Championships

At Hoylake in 2014, The British Open, won by Rory McIlroy, supplied spectators with WiFi and used geo-fencing to allow fans to track players' progress across the course.

the open

Starbucks

Not currently available, but Starbucks is planning an order ahead service. Some, including Slash Gear, have speculated this is most likely to be done with iBeacons, probably inside the Starbucks app, meaning payment can be taken, too.

starbucks

Honeywell's smart thermostats

Nest is the most prominent of smart thermostats, but it's the Honeywell Lyric that's using geofencing. If you (your phone) leave your home, the Lyric will switch to 'nobody's home' mode, to save on fuel.

honeywell lyric

Amazon

A fun one to finish. Amazon is currently seeking permission from aviation authorities to test its drones at its lab in Seattle. Reports suggest the tech giant will be using geofencing to keep the drones safely within Amazon airspace.

 

See the Econsultancy blog for more uses of iBeacons and potential trials of iBeacons.

Ben Davis

Published 28 July, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

834 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Si Brown

I have just been shared this Excellent article Ben as they felt it was relevant to what we are doing

Very interesting reading what the Brands are doing, just in case you did not come across skignz I thought I would share this with you?
Would be very interested to get your feedback on what we have developed and what we are doing in this space?
Best regards
Si

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Si

Feel free to send details: to ben.davis@econsultancy.com

Best,

about 2 years ago

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Hanna Johansen

Great examples, Ben! Another cool one that I noticed was KFC running offers within my Waze navigation app.

about 2 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

I can see these apps working nicely, when there's a small number of retailers.

What will the user experience be like though, if walking down the high street becomes interrupted with too many voucher popups?

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Deri

Yep, that occurred to me, too. I suppose it means that receptivity to geofencing will correlate with how many users regularly use a particular retailer's app.

i.e. people will turn off push notifications and mobile network for retailer apps they don't care about. That might leave me open to being geofenced by a few brands I care about.

In short, I don't expect widespread adoption, but it might be a powerful tool to engage your best customers.

about 2 years ago

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