How geolocation can boost sales for small businesses

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How geolocation can boost sales for small businesses
Greg Isbister

Online searches involving the term “near me” increased by a factor of 34 between 2011 and 2014, with the vast majority coming from mobile devices. Greg Isbister, CEO of geolocation platform Blis, explains why it’s more important than ever for businesses to reach local customers online.

It was once thought that the best use of digital platforms was to connect people with brands beyond the physical space, however with the development of geolocation technology, businesses can now connect with people right outside their front door.

Geolocation technology gives businesses the opportunity to do three things: firstly attract new customers, secondly reward loyal ones and lastly find out more information about the behaviour of people in and around their premises.

Essentially, geolocation connects businesses with local customers. Using a few simple techniques, businesses can ensure they come top of search listings when someone runs a location-based search, such as “coffee shop near me”, which greatly increases the chance of that person visiting your shop over someone else’s.

At the most basic level, geolocation means ensuring that all of your location-based touchpoints online are up-to-date. These include listings sites such as Google Maps and Yell.com, as well as location-enabled social media platforms like Facebook and Foursquare.

Doing this pretty much guarantees your business will turn up in a localised search, potentially putting it ahead of your rivals in the area. It’s vitally important to be discoverable in this way, otherwise you are giving up sales to other businesses who may have a better online presence.

The second aspect to this is making sure that you have published the right – and relevant – information about your business and that your listings are fresh and accurate. This will include the description of what you sell, your address and your opening hours. Have in mind that it is often people’s default behavior to look up information such as opening hours before they head out, and it’s critical that small businesses make sure this information is up-to-date and at their customers’ fingertips.

You might also want to include an offer or promotion in your listing to help encourage the customer to visit your store. It could be something small like a free coffee on their first visit, or something unusual and eye-catching.

Taking geolocation to the next level

Geolocation doesn’t have to be a technical dark art. It can be about doing the basics well so that your physical premises are easily discovered by potential customers. That said, there are some more sophisticated techniques that could take your business to the next level.

In-store Wi-Fi is a great way to entice more people into your shop. These days customers expect to connect their devices for free, but in return they are generally happy to start their browsing with an introductory page from your business.

This page is a brilliant marketing touchpoint. You could have a login for regular customers, invite them to sign-up to your newsletter or display your latest offers on the page. One thing I would recommend against, however, is compelling people to sign-up to something as part of the deal.

Keep in mind that people don’t mind being encouraged to do something, but they don’t like being forced.

Beacons are another smart way to connect with passers-by. A beacon is a very close range technology which can detect whether people are in-store and where they are in the building – even down to an aisle.

For example, you could be in a supermarket in the detergent section and an offer might appear on your phone automatically, giving you money off a specific item or brand.

Beacons use a technology called Near Field Communication and they are useful not only for instant offers but also for collecting anonymised customer data. You can discover how many people use your business, at what times and even what they are most interested in, allowing you to shape your offering to maximise sales.

The importance of value exchange

Data is a hot topic and not everyone likes to share their information. It’s vitally important therefore that you create a value exchange that the consumer can understand. In other words, what do they get out of sharing their data with you?

This is a fine balance and it’s important to provide strong incentives so people don’t feel like they are giving something up, only that they are getting a great deal by telling you more about themselves, what they do and what they like.

Starbucks is a great example on how to do this well. You can place an order before you get to the store, saving you time if you’re on your way to work, and it has an extensive reward programme for loyal customers.

The great thing about geolocation is that it’s generally free or very low cost. So that’s all the more reason to give it a try and keep all of your listings and touchpoints up-to-date.

You can optimise your results by learning more about the customer journey and what drives people into shops. If it’s raining outside, for example, that’s a great time to ramp up local advertising and entice more people into your store.

Lastly, you need to convert (did you mean “convert”?) impulses into sales. It’s one thing to attract people nearby into your business, but another to make them want to buy something. Make sure your business is set up for impulse purchases and has a welcoming feel in the real world, not just online.

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Greg Isbister is Chief Executive Officer at Blis.
How geolocation can boost sales for small businesses
Greg Isbister

Online searches involving the term “near me” increased by a factor of 34 between 2011 and 2014, with the vast majority coming from mobile devices. Greg Isbister, CEO of geolocation platform Blis, explains why it’s more important than ever for businesses to reach local customers online.

Tags: , , ,

Greg Isbister is Chief Executive Officer at Blis.
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For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
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Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

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3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one...

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But mobile devices also give consumers something they can’t get in stores: personalized marketing. Collecting data like shopping histories and browsing patterns, mmobile devices provide retailers with detailed insight into individual consumers and a means of communicating with them directly.

How can retailers use mobile insights and capabilities to craft effective, one-to-one messaging?

1. Get personal.

Today, consumers want—and expect—ads to speak directly to them. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when their online experiences aren’t personalized.

The easiest way for retailers to personalize content is by harnessing their first-party data. If a customer purchases a dress online, the brand can use what they know about her (her fashion interests, browsing history and email address) to customize subsequent content. For example, the brand can serve an ad via email that suggests a pair of shoes to go along with the new dress.

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Let’s say a CPG brand wants to reach out to a previous customer who hasn’t been seen in store lately. The marketers can use their knowledge of the consumer’s daily commute to deliver the ad just before he leaves work, suggesting he stop by on his way home. They may even offer him a discount on the product he previously purchased.

2. Market to individuals, not devices.

Once retailer marketers have identified their ideal audiences on mobile, they shouldn’t see phones as the only means of communication. Consumers own an average of 3.6 connected devices, so retailers should communicate with consumers across the devices they use, including tablets, laptops, desktops and addressable TV.

However, if a retailer sees a user reading political news on the tablet all day but watching cartoons in the evening, it might not be the same same person. With families and partners sharing devices at home, marketers need to make sure they are constructing nuanced consumer profiles across devices in order to reach out to individuals, not just devices.

3. Don’t be creepy.

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But how retailers use that data is key. Consumers want to feel understood, but they don’t want to feel like ads are invasive or drawing on data that’s simply too personal and private. Marketers need to make sure they aren’t crossing any personal boundaries or making consumers feel uncomfortable.

If marketers want to turn heads or, more importantly, turn consumers into buyers, they’ll need to do more than blast out generic ads to the masses. When retailers personalize ads with these three tips, they’ll see huge improvements in campaign performance.

But how, exactly, do they measure these improvements? Find out next week when we assess the best metrics for retailers.

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Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

The twentieth-century American engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming once said, “Just because you can measure everything, doesn’t mean that you should.”

This applies to retailer struggles today as marketing executives need to decide what they should measure and how. Do they care about impressions, views or click-through rates? And once they figure that out, how can they make sure their ad dollars are really working? The Partnership predicts that ad fraud will cost brands over $16 billion this year alone, while Infectious Media suggests that over half of all digital ads aren’t seen at all.

Fortunately for retailers, there’s a new metric in town—one designed to eliminate waste and increase sales. With a cost-per-visit (CPV) model, retailers pay only when a consumer sees an ad and visits a specific location. Here are four ways retailers are benefiting from this cutting-edge new metric.

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With the National Retail Federation predicting eight to 12 percent e-commerce growth this year alone, no one can deny the rapid rise of online sales. However, 85 percent of consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, where 94 percent of all sales are generated. That’s why it’s vital for retailers to keep their physical stores alive and continue to enhance their in-store experiences.

With the explicit goal of bringing visitors into physical store locations, CPV is a metric for retailers wanting to increase foot traffic—and pay only for successful conversions. While there are many ways to boost in-store visits, today’s leading location data solutions use predictive location modeling. With Blis Futures, we choose to charge on a CPV-basis because we are completely confident in this approach.

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4) Risk-free Investing

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When Blis became one of the first tech partners to offer the CPV model earlier this year, we sent a critical message to both retailers and the wider industry: We’re ushering in a new era of transparency and accountability in advertising.

Check back again next week when we switch gears to discuss how retailers can use mobile to boost engagement, retention and acquisition.

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