The ability to be in the right place at the right time with the right message is the holy grail for every marketer.

The better the understanding of an individual’s behaviour and their interests, the more relevant and helpful the recommendations and offers that reach them will be.

But consider the even bigger impact that can be made through combining this information with context around a customer’s location. With geotargeting tactics, marketers have a huge opportunity to connect with customers on a deeper level, and ultimately deliver a more tailored experience that makes the shopper’s life easier and encourages a purchase. We’ve looked at how brands can be on the front-foot this year and use geolocation to achieve better interactions with customers.

Driving footfall to the local store

Despite the convenience and rapid growth of online shopping, bricks-and-mortar stores still play an essential role in many customer journeys. Eighty five percent of consumers still prefer to purchase products in store while other shoppers like to try in store before buying online.

For marketing teams, this means they need to ensure there’s a refined strategy in place so that customers receive a joined up experience, no matter how they are interacting. Incorporating the nearest store information on the website and in marketing emails is an effective way to drive footfall in store. It could be the encouragement shoppers need to go and see a product in person, creating more opportunities for further engagement.

Nectar suggests local restaurants where customers can redeem their loyalty points. Source: Nectar email

Ecommerce Best Practice Guide

Geotargeting also works well when promoting a local store event while avoiding wasting precious digital marketing real estate for customers who are too far away from that store. For example, a women’s fashion retailer may want to drive customers to a particular in-store women’s fashion experience at their London Oxford Street outlet. Using customer data, the brand can target those that have been interested in women’s fashion previously and who are within the influence of the store experience, to make them aware of it and encourage them in store.

Recommending products that are nearby

Sharing useful details such as the opening hours and directions to a customer’s nearest store might be the more common use of location-based marketing, but geotargeting can really take personalisation much further by matching a product’s location with a shopper’s location and behaviour.

Customising email and website content to only display products available in the customer’s nearest store, based on the location at the time of browsing, helps refine the experience and makes it more tailored to them. For example, matching customer data with product data to inform product recommendations avoids frustrating customers if they were to go into that store to find the item they were after was never available at this particular location.

Geotargeting is also helpful when promoting products that are only available in certain stores. For example, merchandise around a local charity or sporting event, such as the London Marathon, will only be promoted to local customers.

Beyond retail, this filtering of offers works well to highlight to consumers flights to their browsed destination from their nearest airport or concerts and events nearby that they might want to attend based on their past bookings.

Pavers shows a product’s in-store availability on the PDP. Source: Pavers.co.uk

Targeting customers based on the influence of a certain location

A shopper’s location isn’t always clear cut. For example, a person’s nearest store might not be the one that’s easiest for them to get to – another store might be easier for them to reach due to its proximity to the highway or their place of work. Marketers should take this into consideration and leverage information from offline purchases, e.g. data from the customer’s loyalty card, as well as a store’s catchment area when defining the preferred store for each shopper.

Keeping shoppers up to date about their favourite store isn’t the only usage scenario when using geofencing, however. Savvy marketers can also engage consumers within the geographical vicinity of competitors. Burger King famously took on McDonald’s using this approach, where customers within 600 feet of a McDonald’s were given the opportunity to order a Whopper for a reduced price and then received directions to their nearest Burger King to collect their meal.

Understanding a customer’s context is critical for providing an experience that will resonate and drive greater response. Location is an important aspect when it comes to personalisation, and thanks to recent technological developments, incorporating this data into marketing is no longer the manual process it used to be.

Through combining location-based marketing with behavioural targeting, brands can be much smarter in the content and offers a customer is receiving. And the more helpful a message is perceived by the customer, the more likely they are to engage further and ultimately purchase.