Issues Magazine

Personal Alerts to Give Retailers Competitive Edge


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.