This week I wanted to talk about an area of digital marketing that I feel while not necessarily the newest of ideas, is one that is constantly being innovated upon and changed as technology allows it. I am of course talking about geo-fencing and its use in the digital and mobile world of 2017.
What is geo-fencing though? The term which will be unfamiliar to most does indeed describe a type of technology that will have impacted more than a few in their day to day lives. A good definition of a geo-fence from a quick search of Google can tell you it is a virtual perimeter that surrounds a geographic area, therefore making geo-fencing the practice of creating such a perimeter.
Using global positioning, mobile data or Wi-Fi, devices that enter this area can then be tracked and interacted with by an administrator monitoring the system. Because of its ability to track devices, the technology has for a long time been implemented across a range of law enforcement, emergency and civil services. As time moved on however and technology became ever more interconnected, the potential uses of geo-fencing multiplied and attracted the attention of not only government agencies but private organisations as well.
A Nice Explanantion of Geo-fencing!
The implementation of geo-fencing technology across organisations for marketers has provided many new avenues of data collection, customer analysis and advertisement otherwise thought unavailable.
Creating a virtual fence around a store has traditionally been used in a few different ways, either to attract close by customers or deter the use of competitors. For example in order to attract more customers to a store using a geo-fence a marketer could create specialised advertisments notifying consumers that the store is nearby or a short walk away when they are in the area. In addition they may wish to offer enticing deals to those within their virtual region and act as a magnet of discounts once a customer enters their area. Otherwise the technology can also be applied when customers are leaving the virtual area and send them last minute deals to try and bring them back and make a sale.
Creating a geo-fence around a competitor can also be beneficial when trying to sway customers to your store by actively advertising against them. For example, when a customer draws close to a competitor store this will in turn prompt an advertisement that rivals or beats the potential offerings of the competitor therefore dissuading the customer from purchasing there. An example of this may be McDonald’s advertising their $10 for 10 nuggets deal on a mobile device when a customer comes in range of a certain KFC store.
Above and beyond these methods however, organisations continue to innovate with their geo-fencing capabilities. Using McDonald’s again as an example currently being tested is mobile ordering in the US to speed up the purchasing process. As a part of this, the stores participating use geo-fencing technology to let the staff know when the customer is approaching the store where they ordered the food so it can be prepared ahead of time. Then once the customer arrives their meal is already cooked, paid for and ready to be taken instantly. In terms of customer satisfaction this could provide a huge advantage over traditional competitors in the form of speedy service and also add a new venue for customers to actually make their purchases from, all stemming from the successful use of geo-fencing.
This is but one example of how geo-fencing continues to evolve and be used with great success by the modern retailer. Can you think of any new innovative ways that such a technology could be used for? If so let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to reply.
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