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Location-based targeting sheds light on store traffic and boosts sales: PlaceIQ exec

NEW YORK – A PlaceIQ executive at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 Innovation Summit 2015 advised retailers and marketers to leverage location-based targeting to drive sales and take advantage of mobile’s ability to act as a sensor for in-store traffic.

During the “Focus on the Future: Mobile and Location Data Step Forward” session, the executive highlighted the valuable customer data that mobile can offer, thanks to smartphones generally being one-to-one devices as opposed to shared devices such as televisions. Marketers with bricks-and-mortar locations would be well-suited to tap location-based targeting to better communicate with repeat customers and also snatch consumers away from competitors.

“Mobile is this omnipresent force that’s with us all the time,” said Duncan McCall, CEO and co-founder of PlaceIQ, New York. “They’re not shared devices; they make it easier to understand a consumer.

“If it’s key to an individual, the data around that individual can be unified to a smartphone.”

Providing competitive tactics
While location-based targeting can certainly yield a slew of new customers for a brand, the strategy can also snatch some consumers away from competitors. Mr. McCall offered an example of an automotive dealership tapping location data to better market to consumers searching for a vehicle to purchase.

If the data shows that consumers have visited several dealerships, the brand in question should feel compelled to send an offer to those shoppers’ smartphones to ensure that they do not make a purchase with the competition. PlaceIQ is able to measure which devices show up on specific dealers’ premises, therefore offering marketers the ability to deduce whether a consumer has come back multiple times.

This information can then be used to fuel a sale.

“In our world, mobile isn’t a vertical category, it’s truly a horizontal enabler,” Mr. McCall said.

Mobile is able to act as a sensor for in-store traffic, therefore showing brands which locations gain the most traction.

“Mobile provides this bridge between where people go in the world and their in-home profiles,” Mr. McCall said. “That’s a really powerful concept when you start thinking about it.”

The retail example
Location-based data is especially imperative for retailers to leverage, especially if they are experiencing lackluster sales or in-store traffic. One of PlaceIQ’s clients was in such a position, and later discovered that the store in question tended to be a quick stop for consumers traveling home from their places of employment.

The “commuter” store was an ideal spot for them to purchase necessities, but its location did not lend itself well to longer-lasting grocery shopping trips.

PlaceIQ recommended that the client build a bigger store in a more optimal location, and focus on catering more specifically to commuters with the original store.

Additionally, quick service chains can find value in using location data from mobile to target frequent customers of competing brands. If a particular QSR seeks to show television advertisements to its competitors’ diners, it can find its target audience via mobile by seeing which eateries boast the most connected devices.

It may then take the device ID, pass it along to a third-party agency and run an addressable television campaign to attempt to grab business from those specific households.

Last October, fans increasingly tuned in Major League Baseball games under a PlaceIQ-enabled campaign that leveraged a cross-section of location-based insights and television set-top box data to successfully deploy mobile ads (see story).

“They’re no longer mobile devices; they’re an incredibly powerful network of senses,” Mr. McCall said. “The physical and digital worlds are no longer separate.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York