Over the past few years, marketeers been exposed to the location targeting technology discussion. Location based concepts are becoming mainstream, driven mostly by the business challenges of omnichannel customer engagement platforms. Let's not neglect that location based marketing is the glue between digital presence (e-commerce) and the established brick and mortar world. In every nascent field however, there is nothing de facto and best practices emerge through consistent experimentation. Factor in, overwhelmed marketing teams by current day to day tasks and you understand why there is no room for light choices. Still, before we dive into some really insightful cases, we first need to establish a common understanding of the field.
A location-based service is piece of software, which can track your exact position. How we can use it in an omnichannel marketing strategy you might ask ? Data points of your customers' location, can become a major advantage at a campaign optimization level over your competitors.
Your customers spend more than 3.5 hours per day on their mobile devices, most of them are "trained" to check for app updates in their notification bar for more than 270 times per day and 63% of them use a mobile device within the physical store, either to check for offers/discounts or check their loyalty points. However a ground breaking metric is that at least 40% of online shoppers have their order fulfilled in the physical store.
Therefore, effective ways of targeting along their journey to purchase can make or break your CRM execution plan.
Due to recent technology updates, there many vendors out there that sell “technology” for location targeting. However, before we decide on the tech mix to be implemented, let’s understand the various options and what their operational advantages. In general, there three ways one can use to get insights on customers’ location. These technologies can be used to address different use cases and individual moments of truth in your customers' journey.
GPS: is a mix of satellite triangulation technology and 4G cell maps in order pin point user’s location. Accuracy of such a method can be in the radius 3-5 meters when we are outside, but drops significantly (>150m) when we are indoors. GPS campaign triggers are an important part of Warply’s SDK as they work out of the box without any special configuration. Excited ? It get even better Warply SDK is actually optimized for minimum HTTP calls - therefore higher battery life -, by downloading and storing all important location data locally and sending server side calls only when certain location rules fire. GPS campaign targeting using Warply Engage can be used in the following cases:
Geofencing based on postal code/neighborhood/street level and send a PUSH campaign on a new store opening
Capture "drive by" a store (Warply Engage calculates speed) and send gas refill campaign
Exit a specific metro station in the afternoon and send an offer for a pizza pick up
Capture presence within a store and send a campaign about a product the customer searched online
Capture walk into the store and send a welcome message
Capture walk out of a store and run a satisfaction campaign getting insights on customer service level
You approaching a large shopping mall outside city limits, based on GPS data points you get a personalized message on where to find parking.
WiFi: It detects devices that have turned on WiFi (~80% of total) by leveraging existing WiFi infrastructure. In this method, you get a push notification based on your location ranging from retail to hospitality. The way it works (currently only in Android) is that it probes for SIDs, the public name of a WiFi network, remember that before logging into a WiFi it acts exactly as a beacon. Combine that with the fact that you can also get signal strength in decibels, you can imagine why it is really easy to deduct the data point that someone is entering a store with public WiFi that matches a predefined name we configure on Warply Engage. You also get the ability to store rules locally, therefore battery life is preserved.
When you enter a store and when you get out of it, you get a question like "Was our customer service helpful?"
You might pass by, a store and get a message for an offer of a mobile phone because you were searching for mobile devices some hours earlier on brand's ecommerce.
Bluetooth: Bluetooth allows for connectivity between devices and beacons, small devices that broadcast an id associated with some micro location. Beacons work with mobile apps to trigger particular messages under specific circumstances. Use cases include microlocation that can go down to centimeteres or proximity use cases that have to do with payments. Keep in mind that bluetooth is open in less than 20% of all devices
You can get a running video when you approach a pair of sneakers on discount.
You can provide microlocation data points in order to produce instore customer maps
You can play an instant win campaign
You can identify your payments cards in order to check out skipping the line ecommerce
Warply Engage is the state of the art platform for location targeting campaigns on 1st party (CRM data). Warply Engage is mobile first and has been serving campaigns for the past five (5) years, therefore there is a great amount of business insights and know-how embedded into the product. In that direction, we have adopted a layering approach where every location based group of reference points is conceived as a layer. For instance all shops of a grocery chain can be a single layer, where all WIFI SID/SIDs can be another and some bluetooth beacons on a corridor can be a third layer. All three layer can interact or even exclude one another.
Therefore within Warply deterministic rule engine for marketing automation a marketeer can mix behavioral, segment and location rules together. This approach can be extended, since location rules can also be superimposed based on spatial and topological conditions.
Finally a great plus of Warply Engage SDK is that all location layers (SIDs, Coordinates (lat,lon), Polygons and polylines.
Location based techniques are not new, they have been around for years, which brings us many successful use cases to inspire digιtal marketeers. However, there are not many as one would have imagined, given the hype and the holistic approach of similar marketing endeavors. An knowledgeable marketeer can identify an underlying practice that is common to all success stories, that is customer personalization.
Imagine walking into a physical store in the heart of Manhattan, getting a push notification about a daily offer is not that cool (merchandising is all around to promote this kind of offers) since the technology can take the customer experience many steps further. For example, imagine you operate a gass station business with profit margins as little as a few pennies per little, you would want to promote offers in the grocery of the coffee shop area in order to increase foot traffic. The best way to do so is to setup a rule in Warply Engage and deliver Rich PUSH notification via geofencing on drivers arrival.
Besides a banner or video PUSH that will monopolize attention in your customer's notification bar, the landing of the messaging campaign should be equally impressive. Campaign concepts that exploit gamefication and loyalty virtual currencies are among the most engaging, together with affiliation campaign concepts to increase user base.
A final word about permission management and its role into location based marketing is needed before we conclude our overview of the field. Imagine a customer that is entering a store and get a location based push or SMS notification, if we have failed to run him through a concierge on-boarding process the overall experience would be negative. It is a thin line between engaging and creepy and between understanding your customer by providing convenience and just spamming.
In a GDPR world marketeers need to answer to Data officers about permission management and compliant on-boarding. In that context self care on push notification categories and explanatory pop ups are the responsible and transparent way forward.