Mobile is a game changer. We’ve known for a while. Retailers have been watching, jaws dropped, as customers walk into their stores, mobile phone in hand, in order to use their locations as showrooms, scanning barcodes for better deals on Amazon. It is obvious that retailers must turn the tables and harness mobile phones to their benefit, instituting branded, rich apps that bring customers into their location on their terms, providing relevant, time-sensitive notifications with valuable information in order to drive in-store and in-app purchases. But finding a way to harness location-based technology is not so simple for service industries. Without retail locations to direct their customers to, how can they find ways to increase loyalty and encourage mobile purchases in app?
When we consider the moment we face in the course of technology it is clear we have passed an intersection. Before mobile, brands marketed to their customers based on two important categories: history and demographic. With an understanding of a customer’s purchase and search history as well as their demographic and purchasing segment, marketers provided customers deals and information they felt was relevant. What has been lacking in marketing is an understanding of the present: what is a customer’s current time, location, and behavior?
Fortunately, the present is easily understood through mobile phones. Their always on, always present traits mine data about their owner’s present location, weather, time, search history, buying patterns, and purchasing preferences. By creatively installing geofences in a variety of public locations, service industries can leverage a variety of knowledge that allows them to communicate with their customers in a way that is relevant, timely, and informational.
To give service and hospitality industries something to be inspired by, here are a few examples of locations that could be used to increase engagement. Note that many of the examples used consider both geofence entry and exit and incorporate setting multiple geofences within each other.
Set Geofences Around Commerce Locations
While geofences around retail locations may seem at first to be reserved for retailers, the hospitality and service industries can incorporate push notifications around them as well. For example, a bank could send a push notification to a client if there was an issue with their account and inform them of the nearest branch in which they can find personal care. They should also consider setting up a geofence around each branch, enabling bank employees to be notified when a VIP client pulls into the parking lot. These kinds of personalized, relevant interactions increase traffic to the branch and encourage repeat visits.
When marketing to costumers, consider what they need: helpful advice is never discouraged. Airlines should set geofences around airports in order to send push notifications to their flyers, informing them of which terminal they will be taking off from, and even notifying them of changes in take-off time or terminal location.
Set Geofences Around Relevant Events
Event-based companies find perfect use cases in events and should send push notifications when it’s relevant. A fan at a football game is more likely to purchase tickets to the next game if the sports team offered him a discount as a “thank you” for attending.
Since many service industries currently partner with event-based companies, they should continue to leverage this relationship and send push notifications during events. A concert featuring a British band is an ideal place for an airline to offer tickets to London, for example.
Set Geofences Around Public Centers
Since most service industries don’t have retail locations that have a direct correlation to increase in commerce, they find particular benefit from setting up geofences around public locations. Hotels could set geofences around airports in order to send push notifications offering their guests early check-in and giving them access to room upgrades as valued, app-holding customers. So too could event-based companies offer discounted tickets when clients are in relevant locations, as in sending an announcement or offer for an upcoming acoustic concert when a customer is in a local coffee shop.
Increase Push Notifications’ Relevancy By Combining Location, Time, and Behavior
While on-line marketing currently allows companies to communicate with consumers based on time—of day, of week, or of year—mobile gives them the opportunity to increase the relevancy of time based systems by adding a costumer’s location. Here are some examples of push notifications that harness a variety of real-time systems:
- Send Push Notifications Based on Time & Location: It’s two hours before a performance of The Lion King, and tickets haven’t yet sold out. A loyal theatregoer who happens to be dining in the neighborhood receives an offer for half off the evening’s tickets.
- Send Push Notifications Based on Weather & Location: It’s the final football game of the season and it’s pouring rain. The NFL sends a push notification offering their app-holding fans 20% off any mascot-inspired rain gear.
- Send Push Notifications Based on Behavior & Location: It’s three weeks into January and a gym’s app can tell their customer is falling behind their new workout regimen. When they’re a few blocks away, they receive a push notification encouraging them to get back on track by signing up for a complimentary visit with a personal trainer.
Now is the Time to Harness Location in a Branded, Rich Mobile App
For the first time, brands have the opportunity to harness location when marketing to their customers in real-time, taking demographic, location, time, and past and present behavior into consideration. Creatively finding ways to reach out to their loyal customers in a relevant way with helpful information and good deals increases commerce and directly impacts customer loyalty. Now is the time to harness location-based technology. Be creative, have fun.
Kirsty Hughan is Digby‘s Marketing Manager and as such is excited by the opportunity mobile provides to finally allow for a 1:1 marketing strategy for brands. To stay in touch, you can find her on Digby’s Facebook, Twitter or the Digby Blog.