Commentary

Location Data: Opening New Doors For Marketers

Though news of major store closings feels frequent these days, we must remember that 90% of all retail sales still take place in person

The key to understanding this real-world shopping behavior may be the extraordinary trove of insights that mobile location data offers. To better understand how marketers are thinking about the use of location intelligence, we commissioned 451 Research to interview 150 marketers, including those in CRM functions, about where they are in their journey with location-based data.

How Do They Plan to Use It?

Seventy-two percent of marketers strongly agree with the idea that knowing how customers spend time in the real world would be useful in planning their campaigns, while 74% strongly agree that location information is key to understanding how customers interact with businesses.

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Additionally, 71% of marketers say that using location data to collect competitive intelligence holds the most promise, acknowledging that in this hyper-competitive retail market, garnering store-level shopper insights is key to thriving. 

The Whole Customer: Offline to Online Connection

In-person retail is far from dead, but is in a period of transition, with stores offering a customer experience that encourages in-store shopping while providing online ordering and fulfillment. 

The amazing amount of permission-based information produced by shoppers’ phones in proximity to real-world locations is still a vastly untapped resource. Seventy-three percent of marketers say it is very important to leverage location data for a deeper understanding of customer behavior across channels, while 65% believe it is very important to gain greater understanding of attribution across channels.

Challenges in Adopting Mobile Location Data

Seventy-three percent of marketers say that effectively using location data is hindered by the inability to measure success across channels, followed closely by not having a technology infrastructure set up to gather and analyze detailed data (70%).  

What to Do Now

There are three main factors for marketers to consider as they build out location-based programs:  

  • Learn how to better leverage location-based data. Across the survey, agreeing upon metrics and KPIs stands out as a factor holding back practitioners from taking bolder approaches to location intelligence. 
  • Improve coordination between brick-and-mortar and overall marketing teams. Building coherent collaborative processes to tie people together so that those who produce data, those who analyze it, and those who act upon it all work in tandem. Forty-two percent said communications were only so-so — and that information shared is too delayed to have much impact.  
  • Focus on patterns and competitive intelligence. Aggregated and anonymized location-based data provides marketers with a better understanding of shopper behaviors and preferences, which can be useful for predicting trends and enhancing the customer experience overall. Furthermore, it can provide a picture of a customer’s brand loyalty and how their shopping behaviors may vary between competitors. 

If we really want to understand customers, we must go beyond their online behavioral cues to assess how they shop in retail environments — and location intelligence is a great resource.  

Note: The free report is available here.

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