Location, location, location. Sure, it’s true about real estate. But now that your customers have more tools than ever to guide them off the beaten path, they’re willing to come to you – provided you’re giving them a reason, and letting them know you’re there. Especially if “there” just happens to be a hop and a skip from where a prospective customer is already standing.
The trend is undeniable and irreversible: People are turning to their mobile phones to make more and more purchase decisions. This tendency will only rise, and innovations catering to it are barely in their infancy. Keeping your business finger on this pulse is going to be absolutely essential in the long term – and a brilliant way to get on top of the competition in the short. Beacons and GPS technology will make local searches more and more surgical. And it isn’t just search engines that want to share a piece of this pie with you. Mobile wallet apps are tracking their customers to offer up bigger value with real-time push notifications about area-relevant buying suggestions.
GPS Today, Beacons Tomorrow
Beacons are Bluetooth hardware that emit a signal from a fixed location. This form of hyperlocal targeting is very likely to take off in the next couple years, and it has great potential to improve both seller revenue and buyer experience. Both these and GPS signals can be used by a mobile app to correlate where a user is with what he or she wants. Both types of locator can trigger push notifications about relevant, helpful information, such as offers or discounts at nearby stores.
Consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions within hours or minutes after doing mobile research. Or, more to the point, consumers are increasingly doing mobile research right before buying. This is the narrow, business end (so to speak) of the funnel; the end you can’t afford to ignore, lest buyers intent on finding you end up in your competitors’ pockets instead. A vast majority of consumers respond to calls to action that they receive within eyeshot of the relevant retailer.
And with mobile apps added to the picture, you can serve up suggestions to buyers before they’ve even started the search. Google Now is taking strides to bring about this future, and it’s a harbinger of things to come.
You can get on board by commissioning a native app for your store or service. If you already have a native app for your business, adding push messaging/notification is a no-brainer. If you don’t and creating one sounds like too much effort, reach out to the existing popular mobile wallets and see how you can fit in with their notifications systems. And in case it isn’t painfully obvious, if your business is a type that Google Now makes use of, ensure that your Google My Business profile is 100 percent accurate and has as much information as you can pack in.
The Mobile Future Is Here
Mobile wallets are quickly becoming more than a holder of credit and loyalty cards. They offer value directly to the consumer – who is, by the way, gobbling it up eagerly. Location tracking means it’s possible to present people with the means to sate cravings the moment they arise – and that means it doesn’t come across as nuisance advertising. Customers walk into your store with the feeling that you’ve just done them a favor. And you have! It’s a win-win scenario.
To foster that feeling, though, make sure your offers aren’t generic. They have to:
- Notify, not advertise – don’t just yell “Look at me!” lest you make people trigger-happy to mute all app notifications, or just become blind to them.
- Be non-generic and directed toward the tastes of the prospective customer – a 30-year-old male with three registered credit cards walking past a suit shop in autumn.
- Be relevant to his or her current situation – driving to/from work, or driving around a restaurant district at dinnertime.
- Incentivize immediate action without making the reader feel hounded or advertised to – we’ll super-size your meal for free if you come in anytime this week. But hey, you’re within a mile of our store so you might as well stop in now.
- Add new and unique value to the user’s pocket – Even a dollar off will get far more buyers to detour. Unless, that is, they’ve seen that same “discount” in your shop window for the past year and know it isn’t special to them or to now.
Don’t Stop There
While these guidelines are most applicable to hyperlocal targeting, most also apply to regular old pull-style search results – if you are vigilant enough to update them as often as your offers change. Stop thinking of your web presence as a static billboard and start thinking of it as a marquee where you can shift the letters as often as you want.
Right around the corner is a future that will better serve both buyers and sellers. If you want in on tomorrow, you have to start thinking local and real-time today.