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How To Use Geo Targeting For A Personalised Customer Experience


By: Saima Alibhai

Tactical use of geotargeting can help you to increase conversion by complementing existing data, speaking to shoppers at the ideal moment, and smoothing customer journeys.

As the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience increasingly intertwines with online retail, multichannel retailers can use geotargeting to create seamless transitions between the two, and to understand and serve shoppers more effectively.

This a part of our guide on customer experience

 

This article will explain how to use geotargeting to offer a more personalised and relevant shopper experience.

What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting is the use of website or app visitor location data to serve or offer content which is relevant to that location.

More than ever, consumers expect brands to recognise and respond to their multichannel shopping behaviour, no matter where, when or how they choose to shop. The challenge is for commerce marketers to really show they know their customers at every point of the purchase journey, seamlessly linking the online and offline channels.

Implementing tactics that enable the delivery of hyper-personalised communications that resonate with consumers in real time are critical to building a much deeper relationship with an individual and ultimately closing the sale.   

Location, location, location 

Geotargeting is one tactic that you should consider adding to your plans. In fact, it’s expected to become an increasingly prevalent marketing tactic over the next 12 months, and for good reason.

By incorporating your customer’s location into the data used in emails or on your website, you can base your content on the individual’s surroundings at that moment in time, delivering a targeted, relevant customer experience. And it takes minimal effort to send out localised emails.

By using dynamic blocks, all you need to do is define the featured content and imagery for the message and your marketing automation platform will create a tailored, localised email at the push of a button.

Used correctly, geotargeting will help you get closer to the increasingly mobile shopper. It can also add a vital layer of insight about that individual. For example, if a sports brand is introducing yoga classes to its stores, it should use geotargeting to make customers who have previously bought yoga clothing aware of the timetables for their local store.

By delivering hyper-personalised content, the customer is more likely to engage with the message and accept the class invite. Including an incentive, such as a complimentary yoga mat for those who attend the first session will also encourage customers to respond.  

Joining the online and offline world

Geotargeting is particularly effective for joining the online and in-store. One tactic could be to alert mobile shoppers to limited offers in-store. For example, if a cosmetics retailer is running an in-store, one-day promotion on its top eye liner, it can use geotargeting to advertise this offer via text or email to those who have previously purchased the product. Keeping customers updated on product availability at their local store and alternative locations will also help avoid disappointment. 

And with more brands looking at how new technology, such as AR and VR, can help improve the in-store experience, geotargeting also offers a valuable communication tool to raise awareness of these innovations in certain shops. For instance, a fashion retailer who is testing a virtual dressing room can use geotargeting to invite customers within a certain radius of that store to visit and try the technology for themselves.

This enables brands to engage the right customer with interesting and useful content, but also means customers who live far from this particular branch won’t be irritated by irrelevant messages. 

Let’s look at an example of geotargeting in action. For multichannel furniture retailer Oak Furniture Land, geography is a critical element because its stores can be found from Plymouth all the way up to Inverness. For online marketing to truly impact its brick-and-mortar channel, it needed to get more sophisticated in the way it targeted customers.

Oak Furniture Land inserts dynamic, geographic-related content into the weekly offer emails they send subscribers. During the initial purchase, the online customer submits his postcode. Using segments, Oak Furniture Land puts the customer into the customer group for that postcode and pairs the group with store information for the area. Then, Oak Furniture Land triggers a marketing message that is personalised to include the store locations in their area.

So a subscriber in Sheffield will get a list of stores in their area while someone in Manchester will get a list unique to their area. Geotargeting also comes in handy when Oak Furniture Land opens a new store, or a store holds an anniversary sale. Then it’s just a matter of determining which subscriber segment will receive the relevant message.

Combining geotargeting with other data

Combining location with other data sets, such as weather, transport or event data can help increase the effectiveness of geotargeting even further. For example, you could use Henley Regatta as an opportunity to send local shoppers offers related to the event, such as picnic blankets and boat shoes. 

Fast fashion retailer Missguided delved into its data pools to segment its customer base to encourage sales via a more relevant website. It uses geotargeting capabilities to separate and offer content specific to each of its geographical websites. In winter for example, it displays winter coats and boots to UK websites visitors, while showing shorts and sandals to those visiting from its Australian site. The technology also enables the brand to cater to regional preferences.

For example, US customers respond positively to fashion items highlighted with a ‘Celeb style’ badge, while the feature doesn’t resonate with French shoppers. Since implementing this specific, tailored customer experience, revenue has risen by 33% and conversion by 34% YOY.

Using all available customer data will help build a more complete picture of the individual, enabling more effective messages that truly resonate. Geotargeting strategies offer a viable route for brands to connect the online and offline worlds, drive hyper-personalised communications to individuals and ultimately secure the sale.

Conclusion

Failure to send relevant messages at every point in the customer journey might drive the shopper to a competitor. It’s time to ask yourself, do you really know where your customers are?

Remember to:

  • Personalise your geotargeted messaging — there’s shopper data to complement location
  • Think about the best medium — is the ideal communication through email, notification, or even SMS?
  • Understand what types of communication and incentives work for different segments


By: Saima Alibhai - Managing Principal Consultant at Oracle + Bronto

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