Geomarketing has transformed retail over the last few years. Having a location data strategy isn't a luxury; it's a necessity for brands looking to connect with customers in a personalized, relevant manner. That's why I've had my Firebrand Group team investigate geomarketing trends over the last few months, culminating in our Future of Location 2018 ebook. Here are a few brands I've studied that have used proximity data to their advantage.
Barneys New York
Barneys, the luxury department store, recently digitized its newly-opened flagship in Manhattan, implementing a full beacon network and equipping its employees with iPads to provide a more personalized shopping experience. Engage with the Barneys mobile app, and you'll receive a prompt asking you to allow app notifications, which will allow Barneys to use your location to determine your proximity from one of their retail locations. Those who opt in will receive editorial content from Barneys' in-house magazine, and customers who are in the process of shopping will receive targeted notifications or recommendations based on their shopping habits.
In addition to promoting Barneys stores and their products, the mobile app also offers recommendations for restaurants nearby and other attractions in the neighborhood. This is customer-centric of Barneys; instead of an intrusion, it feels like more of a local guide.
A word to the wise, though: for apps like Barneys' that require customers to relinquish some personal information, you absolutely have to to strike a careful balance with the type of content being shared: too many overtly promotional notifications, and consumers will be quick to opt out; too few, and the marketer won't see the benefit of implementing those beacons in the first place.
Herradura, the premium tequila brand, teamed up with Foursquare to create a location campaign designed to raise awareness of the brand among drinkers of premium spirits. Foursquare took the list of retailers selling Herradura, then incorporated location data from mobile phones in order to target ads to consumers who had frequented (or been near) those retailers in the past. The platform also used previous observations to show ads to consumers who were more likely to buy premium alcohol.
An alcohol brand doesn't typically have the same direct relationship with customers that a brick and mortar retailer will. Because of that, awareness campaigns such as Herradura's are a critical part of the brand's marketing strategy. For people who were showed the ad vs. a control group, Herradura's Foursquare campaign resulted in a 23% lift in visits to Herradura retailers. Since Brown-Forman (Herradura's parent) doesn't maintain any retail locations itself, it doesn't have perfect visibility into how many people bought the tequila in response to the ad; nevertheless, visits are typically considered to be a safe (and strong) proxy to sales.
Herradura's example shows that not having a brick and mortar retail location is no excuse for not using location data. Location data offers all brands important insights into how their target consumers shop, which in turn affects how they market themselves to those consumers. In Herradura's case, they can see which type of content does better at getting people to shop, whether it's a video, banner, or pop-up ad; they can also see where people were more likely to shop in terms of physical location and type of store; and they can see where else potential buyers of Herradura are likely to go, thus allowing them to fill in the outlines of their ideal consumer. Note: I go into this in more detail in that Future of Location 2018 ebook I mentioned above.
The home improvement retailer Lowe's has been testing robots tasked with store-mapping for two years. In fact, they're testing LoweBots (which is probably the best name ever) in 11 stores in the Bay Area. Each of the stores has a few LoweBots apiece, which employ natural-language processing to respond to questions from customers, which can be anything from "What part of the store has lightbulbs?" to "Is this the right kind of handsaw?" LoweBots are equipped with sensors so that if a person is, say, idling next to the cabinet fixtures section, it can approach and offer assistance. Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, explains that LoweBots have been designed to tell the difference between inanimate objects and people so that they can engage people and try to assist. Mapping technology runs in the background to help Lowe's keep track of inventory, which can be used to predict sales patterns. "It's learning things that we never knew before," says Nel, citing that it's now possible to be able to tell "what is happening at 3 o'clock on a Tuesday" in a specified store.
What interesting geomarketing implementations have you seen lately? Tweet me and let me know.