By Cameron Elliott
While marketers anticipate that eCommerce will continue to push retail boundaries throughout 2018, mobile commerce is a large factor in that boundary movement, widely due to advanced interest in geofencing. True to its name, geofencing is the establishment of a hyper-targeted location (imagine a virtual wall) that allows businesses to target marketing messages to consumers that cross that virtual wall (e.g., as attendees are entering a trade show or competitor business). When a consumer enters the target zone, they are delivered an ad on their phone.
If you're struggling to envision implementation for your own business, stay with us as we discuss some of the key benefits and challenges.
Reaching a Conflicted Market. You may be familiar with the concept of ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline), wherein consumers perform brand/product research online but prefer to purchase in store. Fortunately for retailers, a 2017 study of 6,000 U.S. consumers found more than 80 percent preferred shopping regularly from neighborhood stores; however, they also expected local stores to compete with online retailers via aggressive pricing, increased web presence, loyalty programs, and strong email marketing. In short, 2018 consumers show renewed interest in shopping offline, but also demand digital savviness. Geofencing allows retailers to do just that by leveraging digital marketing in new ways such as sending custom alerts to hyper targeted consumers as they enter your store.
App Fatigue & Tech Requirements. It's a common misconception that geofencing requires a brand to offer an app. And given the increasingly crowded app market, consumers are less willing to download apps that may enable physical retailers to compete digitally. Fortunately, geofencing does not necessarily require (though it can be enhanced with) an app for prospective consumers, nor does it require the consumer to enable bluetooth or the business to purchase physical hardware. Instead, geofencing relies on an app or software employed by the business to communicate with mobile devices as consumers pass through specified thresholds. To boot, geofencing is estimated to be compatible with 92 percent of U.S. smartphones.
Consumer Insights. Unlike television ads, geofencing ads can be assessed for real-time effectiveness, meaning you're immediately aware of how many consumers were exposed to and engaged with your ad in the moment. Geofencing also allows businesses to track the number of store visits and the average time spent per consumer in store. Plus, geofencing provides flexible A/B testing, as limited-time offers or adjusted messages can be created with ease.
You may already see that geofencing offers applicability beyond B2C retail stores; this is simply where geofencing has quickly gained good standing. Is it any wonder that the global geofencing market is estimated to quadruple in the next four years, yielding a two-billion dollar industry? 2018 will no doubt be a record year for geofencing innovation.
Cameron Elliott, Traffic Manager of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.