Customer engagement through geolocation

Customer engagement through geolocation

One of the biggest digital trends over the last decade has been the change in the way we are consuming data. Advancements in technologies such as mobile telecommunications and portable devices have given us the ability to easily access data wherever or whenever we may require it. This evolution has had a major impact on the relationship between business and consumer.

The average consumer is utilising the volume of data that is now readily available at their fingertips to make more informed choices. Price comparisons are just one example of this. In recent times, some well-known high street brands have succumbed to pressures put on them by the ever-growing e-commerce market, where online retailers with lower overheads can usually be found offering lower prices. This is a new and completely different competition that businesses are faced with in the digital age. Rather than trying to fight them, a business should embrace the new technologies transforming modern data consumption in order to compete. If they succeed in offering something unique, they may just gain a competitive edge.

Using a relatively young, and somewhat untapped, technology like geolocation, a business has the opportunity to engage with their consumers in new and more effective ways. Geolocation, with the user’s permission, shares details of their location with varying levels of accuracy depending on the technique used. This returns the properties latitude and longitude (i.e. your actual physical location) and can also return others such as altitude, speed and the direction you are heading.

One common implementation currently used on the web is presenting a user with a “Find me” button (or similar) on something like a store locator page as a quicker and simpler alternative to entering an address or post code. While this is certainly useful, there is scope for more sophisticated solutions and ideas.

Enhance the in-store experience

Customers now have access to many online features that aren’t available in store, such as product recommendations based on their viewing history. By linking with a digital technology like geolocation a unique in-store experience could be offered where a customer is presented with personalised data when opening the website whilst in-store. A few possible applications are outlined below.

Tailoring the list of products displayed on the home page to those nearby the customer would allow them easy access to further information and model shots of items they are looking at.  Similarly, a summary of what’s new since a customer’s last visit to the store could be displayed by utilising the timestamp property available when retrieving a location.

Taking the idea a step further, a customer’s location could be used to trigger environment changes within the store, such as lighting changes to highlight certain products as they browse. Also, from a non-customer perspective, geolocation could be used to detect common traffic routes to allow decisions to be made on store layouts.

Provide insights to customers

A business selling outdoor gear could provide recommendations for nearby points of interest if customers visit their website in popular hiking areas, for example. By providing this information, they are encouraging customers to return to the website which may lead to them making another purchase. It may even increase brand loyalty as the service would show that they continue to think about their customers after the purchase.

Similarly, businesses who offer products for event-based activities such as horse riding and mountain biking could give details to website visitors about upcoming events near to them.

Promotional campaigns

Geolocation could also be used as an integral part of a promotional campaign. Extending on the hiking example above, customers could be given rewards for ‘peak bagging’ – where hikers aim to reach the summits of a collection of hills, mountains and/or Munros. A customer could be given a unique code upon making a purchase which they then submit via an online form from these summits, verified by geolocation and the altitude property. 


The above is just a handful of ideas but the ever increasing need of consumers to digest data, especially personalised data, means there are opportunities aplenty for businesses to engage with their customers. And by doing so in unique ways that improve customer experience, this approach can really help to edge out the competition and increase the reputation of a brand.