30 January, 2017

Geofencing: perfectly timed communications for better business

You park at your local shopping centre and your phone buzzes. It’s an instant notification from the centre’s bakery: “Fresh-baked rye bread 50% off today!” This kind of timely, relevant and useful B2C communication is made possible by geofencing and if you’re not already using geofencing technology in your business, now is the time to jump on board.

Using mapping tools, geofencing allows you to define a virtual geographical boundary relevant to your business; for example a shopping centre, sporting venue, school or even entire neighbourhood. Once your geofence is defined, location-aware devices such as smartphones can trigger alerts upon entry (or exit) of the geofence. Using simple push notifications, you can reach customers with perfectly timed, hyper-local communications relevant to their immediate needs.

Pioneering businesses are already reaping the benefits of geofence-enhanced communications and their success has paved the way for all business, big and small, to implement the technology for both marketing and non-marketing purposes.

Geofencing for Marketing & CRM

The North Face, a market-leader in outdoor apparel, successfully used geofence alerts to boost sales and significantly increase in-store visits . Their innovative campaign combined weather information with a customer’s location for highly targeted promotions. When customers crossed a geofence, ads were broadcast for clothing perfectly suited to the local weather conditions on that day.

Their geofencing campaign worked because promotions were timed perfectly. The technology’s instantaneous capabilities allow you to do the same:

  • As soon as a customer enters your virtual perimeter, alert them to VIP specials, encouraging them to buy when they otherwise wouldn’t.
  • If your customer enters a competitor’s car park, alert them to your current offers and potentially divert them to your store.
  • When a customer leaves your geofenced region without buying, offer time-sensitive discounts or vouchers bring them back to your store.

By integrating geofencing with your CRM, you can even tailor promotions based on demographics and purchase history. For example, when a customer enters your store you can alert sales staff to ensure VIP customers are rewarded for their loyalty.

Most marketing is ignored because it comes at a time when customers aren’t ready to buy. The benefit of using geofencing is customers hear from you when they can act on your message and don’t hear from you when they don’t want to be interrupted. Given that customers typically opt-in to your promotions of their own free will, make sure you reward them with great benefits every time they pass by.

The History Channel’s Foursquare campaign is a great example of how companies can use geofencing to both reward and attract customers. Whenever their members entered a geofenced iconic historical monument, such as the Eiffel Tower or the White House, the History Channel pushed historical facts to their smart phone – an excellent way to stay relevant and remind users of their brand. Their members loved the service and the History Channel boasted 400 million check-ins during the campaign.

Beyond Marketing: Innovative Geofencing Ideas

Beyond attracting customers and alerting them to discounts and promotions, geofencing is underpinning a new breed of location-based apps and services. These ideas are made possible thanks to geofencing’s ability to trigger instantaneous, location-accurate alerts on auto-pilot.

  • Crowd Management. Hosts of events such as trade shows and sports games can use geofencing to track foot traffic and monitor peak hours. Staff can address issues immediately and make well informed decisions to assist with crowd management and the flow of pedestrians.
  • Emergency Zoning. In high-pressure situations where timely and relevant information is crucial, emergency teams can quickly set up geofences to surround affected areas and alert people of new developments and evacuation procedures. Geofences are flexible, allowing emergency zones to adapt to changing circumstances such as fire and flood.
  • Family Safety & Tracking. uKnowLocate, powered by Esri’s Geotrigger Service, allows families to draw a virtual fence around their chosen locations, such as schools, sports centres and friends’ homes. Parents can configure alerts when children arrive and depart from geofenced locations, giving them peace of mind and enhancing children’s safety.
  • Taxi Management. By ensuring drivers stay within their virtual perimeter, geofencing helps maximise the efficiency of vehicles distributed across large metropolitan areas.
  • Confinement Monitoring. Carers can create geofences and setup alerts that are triggered when confined patients leave designated perimeters, making it easy to locate their whereabouts for speedy and safe recovery.

Geofencing is an affordable way for businesses to communicate with customers, whether for marketing or non-marketing purposes. It requires no special hardware and is relatively inexpensive and quick to deploy.

NGIS can help you implement geofencing technology for marketing, sales and promotion, or to build location-enhanced products and services.

Contact Us to find out more

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