4 Ways Retailers Can Use Location Intelligence This Holiday Season

Holiday marketing strategies need to go above and beyond or miss out on opportunities

Black Friday offers an opportunity for marketers to use location targeting with consumers. Getty Images
Headshot of Craig Waggy

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, retail marketers are busy putting the final touches on their holiday plans. With a combination of low unemployment, improving wages and high market confidence, shoppers are ready to spend.

With more people planning to shop at brick and mortar stores, even after a dramatic year of retail closures, it’s the perfect time for marketers to think about leveraging location intelligence to maximize shoppers’ share of wallet. Here are four ways to creatively use location intelligence as part of your holiday marketing strategy.

Target customers based on their behavior

Location intelligence gives you the ability to target customers based on both their online and offline behavior. With a location SDK integrated into your mobile application and a geofence set around stores or competitor locations, you can deliver more relevant ad campaigns to customers.

By understanding what your customers actually care about when they visit a store, you can more effectively improve repeat visit rate and customer retention.

One way great way to remind customers about your holiday deals and promotions is to send them a push notification when they are within a certain proximity to your store. If you have historical data about your customers’ past behavior, like what day of the week they usually visit or how long they spend while at your store, then you can create custom campaigns to reach them at the best possible moments.

Location intelligence will also provide the full context of their everyday lives, such as what other stores they visit, how long they spend there and where else they go during the day. This data can be used to then create robust customer personas to be used for more personalized targeting and messaging for future advertising campaigns. By understanding what your customers actually care about when they visit a store, you can more effectively improve repeat visit rate and customer retention.

Close the online to offline attribution gap 

Especially during the holiday season when businesses spend a premium on advertising, measuring the impact of those marketing efforts is incredibly important. Location intelligence can help retailers better measure who has been exposed to an ad and attribute that to an in-store visit. Even though this has traditionally been done through advertising tracking pixels, this method is not as effective for the multi-device, cross-channel world that we now live in.

In order to use location intelligence for online-to-offline attribution this holiday season, you’ll need to set a geofence around a specific location and integrate a location SDK into your mobile application. Regardless of whether you’re geofencing your store or a competitor’s location, anytime a customer crosses the threshold of the geofence, a visit will be recorded.

Win over your competitor’s customers

The holidays are the perfect time to win over customers from your competitors. By geofencing your competitor’s locations, you can send their customers enticing offers to attract them to your store instead. This is especially useful during the holiday season when there is more overall foot traffic compared to other times throughout the year.

There are two popular ways you can send your competitor’s customers targeted promotions: either using online advertising or push notifications. When a customer is within a target radius from a competitor’s location then you can trigger either one of these to try to win them over before they enter your competitor’s store.

Although current customers love receiving your deals and promotions, surprising and delighting your competitor’s customers during the holidays might be a better way to go in terms of increasing revenue share. For example, you could host popup events in your stores with free holiday products or services and send a message to your competitors’ customers about those events as a way to bring them into your store.

Learn about store location performance

Aside from getting granular insights into customer behavior, location intelligence and geofencing can also help you better evaluate your top performing stores over the holidays. You’ll even be able to identify new insights about which stores within your network receive the greatest foot traffic during the holidays.

You can also optimize locations where you’d expect there would be higher sales based on foot traffic and use that knowledge when thinking about future site selection. You can also get insight into the days and times that are most popular at these top performing stores, allowing you to better optimize seasonal store operations.

With an optimistic outlook on the market this holiday season, the potential increased foot traffic provides a unique opportunity for you to use location as a competitive advantage and to learn more about holiday shoppers. There are plenty of resources to get started with location intelligence but starting small is the best way to get comfortable with integrating it into your annual holiday marketing strategy.


@CraigWaggy Craig Waggy is CEO of Skyhook.
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