Issues Magazine

Personal Alerts to Give Retailers Competitive Edge

Source: 

Esri Australia

Personalised instant alerts triggered by virtual boundaries and sent directly to consumers’ smartphones are being investigated by retailers to gain a competitive edge.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology developed by Esri Australia will enable retailers to place an invisible perimeter – known as a geo-fence – around a storefront, triggering push notifications to customers’ phones when they cross the boundary. Personalised special offers – promotions, time-sensitive discounts or loyalty bonuses – will be delivered directly to the customer to attract them into the sender’s store.

Esri Australia Principal Consultant Gary Johnson said the geo-triggered messages allowed retailers to start a tailored conversation with consumers at crucial moments during their shopping experience. “Retailers place a high price on personally engaging customers as they walk through a shopping centre or district,” Mr Johnson said. “Unlike SMS or email campaigns, the technology doesn’t bombard shoppers with random promotional material at an inappropriate time or place.

“Instead – by taking advantage of smartphone GPS features – GIS technology can provide retailers with precise details of customers’ movements in and around their business. This insight can be used to deliver targeted messages as part of a strategy to improve personal service to customers or as a value-add for a complementary business.

“For example, a shoe retailer could reach out to customers leaving a clothing store with a notification that reminds them to purchase footwear to match the new clothes they’ve just bought. Conversely, a retailer could establish a geo-fence in the vicinity of a competitor’s store which would trigger a time-sensitive special offer to tempt customers back.

“The technology will enable businesses to provide a greatly improved retail experience to shoppers while taking ground back from competitors.”

Johnson said participation would be voluntary, with consumers needing to opt-in before their personal data and location could be shared.