GeoSmart Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Location and Shopping – Tomorrow Becomes Today

This morning I was watching a podcast on Unterther.TV which was an interview with Ken Harlan of MobileFuse, a Mobile advertising network. Their core business is publishing ads on mobile applications and web pages, but the discussion that got my interest was about people using their own Smartphone devices to do their shopping. This piqued my interest because one of the areas of shopping in the future is about navigating the grocery store and shopping interests.

GeoSmart is often found at the leading edge of location based technology, working with partners to come up with new applications and helping build the future that one day we will take for granted.

Sky and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets have collaborated to put iPad mounts with chargers in supermarket trolleys. The story suggests you might like to watch sport news and other entertainment.

The idea sort of appeals to me, but I can hear my wife saying “Don’t You Dare!”

But there are more powerful opportunities and I’m sure where Sainsbury’s really want to head with a company like MobileFuse would go something like this:

1. A Sainsbury App that gives you access to their product list including using your Smartphone scanner as you consume product at home to generate your shopping list. When you are ready to go shopping, the app would navigate you to the nearest store to your current location or a selected location such as your home or other destination, so your frozen goods stay cold.

2. Having checked in, you could be notified of any friends or family that are also in the store, or in the neighbourhood, or not:)

3. The App gets to know the sort of things you like to buy and shows you ads of similar products that may be of interest. This could include showing you videos about the product as you are walking around the store, it might even share recipes for you.

4.  Where I get excited is that it could show you where to find all the products you want, in effect order the shopping list so that it lets you know which product to get next as you go down the aisle so you don’t miss anything. In a chain, location based mapping and indoor navigation information could be uploaded for any store in the country, so that anywhere you go, you don’t need to know the layout.

5. This brings in loyalty programs that recognise you and offers you deals based on products that meet your profile and would be of interest to you.

6. You scan your products into the basket in the same way as they have done in stores like Albert Hein in the Netherlands, but the difference is that you do it on your own device and probably also have contact-less payment at the check out.

This may sound futuristic but self scanning was a struggle to introduce not that long ago. I think in a few years time you might find yourself doing it. Hopefully we will have assisted in this.

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Business Tools, Check Ins, Distribution, driving directions, geosmart, Indoor Navigation, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, route optimisation, Sales, social networking, Web Map | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More on Group Deals and Prescience

Seems like I was on the mark in my blog in July about the huge volume of one day type web sites and that people will quickly get sick and tired of the bombardment of deals. So many of us today are getting huge numbers of time wasting emails, offering us everything from holidays to lucky dip bags. A story in Ad Age Digital this morning says that the trend is now definitely heading downwards in the US.

Yelp, is cutting down its Yelp Deals staff in half as outlined by CNN today and Facebook announced this week that they are shutting down Facebook Deals after originally suggesting that they were going to make huge inroads into Groupon’s business.

Just to reiterate, the problem isn’t the deals. The shear number of sites offering daily deals and bombarding consumers is a fad and most, as I predicted will quietly disappear as they find there is too much competition and they can’t make a profit or reach critical mass for a harvest or sale. As I have already said, retailers aren’t making money from these deals (generalisation) and where they do use the deals to get people into their premises, they don’t seem to be coming back for a second visit once they have their deals.

I will shortly come back to the new strategy that has much more potential to generate positive cash flows for all concerned which is off course location or  proximity based marketing. There will of course be a spate of these and many of the same developers will be jumping on the bandwagon, but they will find that it is much harder than they think and they will struggle to get many retailers on board for reasons I have discussed previously.

All is not lost and proximity based marketing / check ins has huge potential. However it is something that takes an understanding of destination business, game theory, loyalty, what people actually need and want, knowledge about location based services and much more. Areas that we can help with. Get it right and this is a huge business opportunity for all, get it wrong and people will be turned off and it will take much longer to achieve the results that we are predicting.

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Business Tools, Check Ins, competition, Distribution, facebook, foursquare, geosmart, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, Return On Delivery, ROI, Sales, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Consumers are Checking In to Retail Stores

In my previous blog I pointed out that that retailers were not adopting strategies for check in location based marketing. In the blog prior to that I quoted Comstat research that shows that in the first 3 months of this year 16.7 million people check into locations using Foursquare and similar applications, representing 7.1% of the total mobile population. I don’t know what the statistics are for New Zealand, but I suspect the numbers are somewhere between 5 and 7% of the NZ mobile user population.

Comstat also came up with some interesting statistics about the demographics of those users.

Firstly a lot of people think this is technology for men, that they are the geeks, but of course women love to shop, they are social shoppers and as the graph shows, there are in fact more women than men checking in!

The predominant age group should be no surprise, we would expect 18-44 year olds to be the most tech savvy and of course having disposable income for Smartphones which are the predominant mobile used for check ins. Again from Comstat for the first 3 months of this year in the USA Android pipped Apple at 36.6% to 33.7$ of devices used for checking in.

The largest group of users were in full time employment 46.6% and the second largest at 23.3% were full time students.

Just as a footnote to my blog on Group Deals and Bricks and Mortar Business there was an interesting story in eMarketer a couple of days ago. The story contained statistics that from research by Cooper Murphy Copywriters in July this year, 82% of Groupon users expressed dissatisfaction with the level of repeat business they generated from their campaigns and 49% would not use them again. This is interesting when many companies use daily deal type promotions to introduce new customers to their stores.

Of course you know where I am going with this series and that is that Location or Proximity Based Marketing offers far more compelling tools for retailers and other destination businesses to entice people into their premises. Obviously a fundamental component of that is not just how to get them to come to you, but how to get them there when you want them and to have them purchase or consume products or services that achieve your goals. For a retailer that might be those same products you were quitting on a daily deal, but like the Auckland superette owner who has been selling milk at 10 cents below cost as a loss leader, part of the strategy behind that is the opportunity to merchandise other products those same people will buy with a healthy profit margin. If you have an aged stock problem, location based marketing can get people into your store and while they enjoy the low price of your distressed inventory, put something at eye level in from of them that increases the profit of your sale. Cherry pickers do not make you profit.

Likewise if you have a cafe or restaurant, don’t just offer a free coffee with $5 worth of food. Offer it only at times when your business is empty and not to the people who were coming in anyway, they are dealt with using your normal loyalty program. Of course loyalty marketing is also very important and fits into location, but you’re going to have to come back to a future blog for that.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you think this is of interest to people you know, please tell them about it or send them a link. You can also subscribe using the RSS feed.

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Android, Auckland, Business Intelligence, Check Ins, competition, Distribution, foursquare, iphone, lbs, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, ROI, Sales, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Retailers are not flocking to take advantage of free check in marketing services

I did some research looking for New Zealand business success stories with check in marketing. I really struggled to find any. I went and visited a number of businesses in retail and hospitality and most of them didn’t know what foursquare was. One gentleman in a cafe told me he knew about it, but was too busy to learn how to do it. I pointed out that it was really easy, but he said he really didn’t have time and then sat down to have a coffee with one of his customers. I understand on further research that this is how he keeps a loyal clientele which is great, but he could always find a student or someone else to do it for him.

I spoke to a number of people in retail that gave me a similar story. It seems, as is often the case that most managers are too busy working on their business to work in it. This is a trap in my humble opinion. It’s common knowledge that businesses like cafe’s and restaurants to name a couple, change hands about every 18 months, a classic bell curve that starts with ambitions and energy, hard work, great service and develops cash flow. Then they get into a pattern or flow of how they do business, stop innovating, perhaps stop having fun and start telling themselves how hard business is. When they started fresh, people enjoyed the new business, new products and faces and the passion flowing from the owner and staff.

The thing is, we have an amazing opportunity to capitalise on location here. Remember the old rule of successful retail “Location, Location, Location”? Well it isn’t enough to stay fresh these days. As consumers we are spoiled for choices and sometimes we need a push to either stay loyal, or to try something new. Location Based Marketing is as simple as going to foursquare and claiming your business. To be honest, claiming your business can be a little difficult in New Zealand from a validation perspective if you are in a non residential street (where NZ Post do not deliver mail) and I have tried to contact them about this, but you should persist.

The great thing with foursquare for now is that they provide you with lots of very easy ways to set up promotion. You really don’t even have to be marketing savvy, it’s all laid out for you. Go and have a look and check  out the Manager Tools. It is so easy. If you need more help, follow this blog and we will explain how to do it.

People are checking into your store and stores near you all the time, why not give them a reason to come into yours, unless you have more customers than you can deal with. The numbers of people using check in services is growing greatly.

Have a look at the bell curve above and imagine this is your business. How long have you been in business? Have a look at your financials, now see if you can plot them on the curve. Is business growing? Are you on the rise? Have you peaked, would you like to keep the rise going? If you are reading this, maybe you have made some time to work on your business, which is great. Know someone in business who could use a little help? Tell them about this blog. There is more information coming on how to do these things.

If you are already using check in services for your business, we would love you to leave a comment. If you are part of a chain or collaborative group and are not currently doing anything in this area, or and agency wanting ideas for your client, GeoSmart would love to help point you in the right direction. We don’t create loyalty applications, but we have business partners and clients who do. We also welcome questions.

I’ll leave you with a link to an article on BusinessDay News which suggests that Location Based Marketing could be worth US$6.2 Billion within a few years. Maybe there is something to it? Would you like a slice?

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Business Tools, Check Ins, competition, Distribution, geosmart, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail Profit, Sales, social networking, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Check Ins

We were at the Auckland ICT meeting a couple of night’s ago and it was interesting to corroborate our experience in the field with associates that there is both a chasm between people in the ICT industry and even their own friends and family in retail and other bricks and mortar industry when it comes to use of social media and proximity based marketing.

A couple of us presented at the Mobile Marketing Forum last month and felt that we were preaching to the converted and disappointed that only 4 bricks and mortar companies attended the conference when they were potentially the ones with the most to gain from being there. Generally what we found was that businesses either didn’t have a clue what checking in means, or if they did, don’t make the time to understand and utilise what could be a much better tool for them than dumping stock on daily deal type sites.

So here is a tiny bit of Check In 101:

Fundamentally the concept of checking in is to use a mobile application on a smart phone that is location aware, such as Foursquare, to register that the user is at a particular location such as a landmark or a business / shop. The location is verified using GPS or GPS assisted technology in the mobile. There are gaming elements such as badges or points and often tangible rewards such as discounts. People that visit a particular location enough times gain the title of Mayor of that location.

What is interesting and most retail business operators aren’t aware of is that this takes place, whether or not they are personally involved, which means people are entering their businesses and creating marketing opportunities, but are not being engaged in this medium. Most applications allow people to leave comments or tips, make ‘friends’ who are also allowed to see their location and make recommendations which could be positive, but could also be very negative. This means that even if the proprietor can’t make time to use these tools to engage and attract business, they may be losing business without knowing it as well. A simple comment such as “The toilets are clean here:(” or “The line was so long, I went next door” could cost not only immediate business, but steer people away long into the future.

The applications typically have interfaces to social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook, so the comments, recommendations and otherwise are creating a digital footprint that can be difficult if not impossible to remove.

Recent statistics from Comscore this year suggest that around 16.7 million individual people in the USA checked in to locations using Foursquare and similar applications over the first 3 months. This represents around 7% of the total mobile population. Recent statistics in June 2011 suggest that the UK and Western Europe currently sits at around 5%. That is a lot of people. People just like them may be in the area and walking right past your business.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Business Tools, Check Ins, Distribution, geosmart, gps, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, ROI, social networking, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Group Deals and Bricks and Mortar Business

The number of one day deal sites in New Zealand grows every day. There are dozens of them and many of them now have a separate site for each region with deals for experiences, dining, accommodation, attractions and activities. This is great for bargain seekers, but doesn’t necessarily do a lot for bricks and mortar businesses.

There are scenarios where they have value, for example if a business has very large volumes of aged stock that they need to quit. It can also be useful for new businesses to make customers aware they exist. They also come at a price. The more powerful the site, the more they charge with fees being anything up to 40% of the sale of each item.

If you want to attract new customers to your bricks and mortar store, then obviously you want a coupon or something that needs to be taken to the store for redemption. Even if you are quitting aged stock, there may be advantages in getting people into your store in the hope that they will purchase other products while they are there. There are also benefits to both the customer and the retailer in not having the time, packaging  and distribution costs in delivering product to the buyer. More on this in future blogs, looking at check in applications as opposed to group deals.

A study by Rice University found that  32% of businesses surveyed who used Groupon for promotions said they were unprofitable and 40% said they would not do it again. A major issue cited in the research was cannibalising existing business. Mashable quoted a statistic that less than 20% of people who purchased deals where they had to go to a store to redeem them, returned subsequently to buy full priced product.

So the question which I will come to in upcoming blogs is how to get people into your store at quiet times and more often. I believe the answer is in locations based services such as check ins and proximity based marketing. I welcome your experience or opinion on this.

July 21, 2011 Posted by | Business Tools, Check Ins, Delivery, Distribution, lbs, location based services, proximity based marketing, Retail Profit, ROI, Uncategorized, university | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossing the Chasm with Mobile Marketing

Location is everywhere. A large number of people now use mobile phones which are location aware through a number of technologies, most well known are GPS and GPS Assist. Some location based technologies such as car navigation are now well accepted, so the market has a general understanding of the concepts.
There is a chasm between people who use this technology regularly because they are in key industries where the applications have been adopted as a matter of course such as people in ICT and Marketing. Many bricks and mortar businesses such as retail, hospitality and tourism are only barely aware that these technologies exist.
Effective use of location or proximity based marketing solutions can have a significant impact on the profitability of many bricks and mortar companies who not only have to compete with each other, but also with Internet based retailers and wholesalers.
There are many existing applications such as Foursquare, Facebook Places, Gowalla and more which can be used by these businesses, however most business managers are unaware of the technologies, intimidated by them and to busy working in their businesses instead of on them. This presents significant opportunities for developers and the businesses themselves to take an early adopter advantage. It also displays a need for market education as to the technology and how to use it in each unique business. GeoSmart of course has web services and API’s that developers can use to create their own apps, particularly in New Zealand and Australia.

I will be exploring these issues over the coming weeks on this blog. Please bookmark or use the RSS feed if this is of interest to you.

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Australia, Australia Maps, car navigation, driving, driving directions, education, geosmart, gps, iphone, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Mobile maps, navman, new zealand, proximity based marketing, satnav, software, tomtom | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Franchise Territory Mapping Part 2 with Demographics

A couple of days ago I blogged about using our new territory mapping application. In a business to consumer environment a powerful component is understanding who your target customers are.

One franchise industry I talked about was lawn mowing. One of the features of our new application is that it integrates the Department of Statistics Census Mesh Blocks. A mesh block is the smallest geographical unit in New Zealand and Australia and these can be spatially interrogated on the basis of a number of key questions asked in the Census which typically occurs every five years.

Meshblocks can vary in size from zero population to around 500 people and the information contained can be very powerful for decision makers if you ask the right questions.

So lets stick with the lawn mowing example for a bit. What sort of people would pay someone else to mow their lawns. Now I’m not in that business, but here are some thoughts. I would start with people who are time poor and have a reasonably high household income. Home ownership might be another criteria.

Our application will allow you to do your own queries within the Census data and we can even provide you with a list of all the street addresses within a meshblock that you identify as being a good target for marketing, so you can do some smart target marketing.

If you know the target demographics for your franchise business, our application will make it easy for you to determine the size of the franchise territories.

I’ve created a little example here to illustrate. Here we have a hypothetical lawn mowing franchise territory on Auckland’s North Shore. Using the GeoSmart Census Query Tool I have looked for mesh blocks within the territory using actual 2006 NZ Department of Statistics data. I’m looking for low hanging fruit, i.e. a demographic that I think would be easy to sell lawn mowing services to and probably other services if appropriate such as landscaping and general garden maintenance. I queried looking for mesh blocks which have a combined annual household income above $85,000 and greater than 85% of dwellings are occupied by their owners.


Owner Occupied high household income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you agree that these mesh blocks would be a good area to target if I want to grow my business? So what next? Subscribe to this blog for more ideas, or bookmark it and come back for another look.

 

 

 

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, Business Analytics, geosmart, GIS, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, ROI, SaaS, Sales, sales territory, territory management, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We are presenting on Location and Collaboration at Auckland ICT 25 November, come join us

Luigi Cappel  from GeoSmart will be presenting a paper on ‘A case study on building business through cooperation – even among fierce rivals’ at 5PM on Friday 25 November at Massey University. This is an Auckland ICT Cluster event which is open to all comers. You can find details here.

The ICT world is changing rapidly. From or perspective of course Location Based Services is the key. Everything these days is about location. Our mobiles know where we are as do many other devices. Location impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives. It impacts on our activities, our associations, social networking, marketing, business intelligence and this opens so many opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

Collaboration is the key focus of our presentation and the goal of the presentation is to facilitate activity amongst the attendees through breakout groups with a view to making some new business opportunities happen. So many of us have pieces of the puzzle and when we combine them we can create new products, solutions and business opportunities.

The presentation will discuss new business models of collaboration and coopetition and include case studies where GeoSmart has successfully partnered with companies in NZ and overseas to mutual benefit.

Attendees are encouraged to think about their capabilities and interests before the evening and add to a seek and offer sheet so they can have an idea before the event who will be attending and where potential collaboration opportunities are, so they can make the most of the ‘collaboration speed dating’ component and generate some positive outcomes after the meeting.

This is an interesting and exciting opportunity to network and participate and perhaps turn some great ideas into reality. I hope to see you there.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Auckland, education, geosmart, GIS, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Meetups, new zealand, proximity based marketing, social networking, software, systems integrator, Uncategorized, universityschool | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support for Mobile Location Based Apps in New Zealand

Are you developing applications for mobiles such as iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7? Do they have a location aspect to them? If so, we would like to help and perhaps partner with you.

We have the only fully driven road centreline of all roads in New Zealand and a range of web services and API’s designed to help you with your application development. No maps aren’t all created equal and while overseas companies offer maps of New Zealand, if accuracy and quality is important for your application you might like to read on a little.

The New Zealand road network was originally designed in Scotland in the 1800’s. Many of the roads were never constructed, but they have a legal status and are known as Paper Roads. These roads have a legal status and therefore exist to some degree on traditional map datasets used by many mapping companies. This of course produces many problems when it comes to providing turn by turn driving directions, whether that is in car navigation or in an application that provides directions.  Imagine driving at night or in bad weather and being told to turn right into a farm paddock or perhaps through a farm gate.  If your application is providing linked directions from A to B and part of the sequence doesn’t make sense, you have a problem, Houston.

GeoSmart has many web services and API’s and good developer documentation including examples and tutorials on our Developer Page. I won’t go into detail here because you can find them there. It is also worth having a look at our flagship website which is AA Maps. AA Maps uses many of our tools, most of which can also be used on a mobile, for example:

  • Search for street names and numbers, places, Points of Interest
  • Proximity Search
  • Turn by turn directions from A to B to C (and the ability to swap the order and recalculate)
  • Real Time Traffic Incidents
  • Search for Points of Interest by category
  • Terrain View
  • Reverse Geocoding (finding the nearest address to a set of coordinates)
  • Route Optimisation

There is no cost for a Developer Agreement and we have a number of commercial models based on the opportunity. If you are developing an application that is location based in New Zealand, we would like to help and we know New Zealand best because we have driven every public road and many private roads in the country.That’s why when companies such as TomTom, Navman, NZ Automobile Association to name a few, who are not prepared to compromise on quality and accuracy come to us. To see more sites developed using our API’s and Web Services, check out the Showcase sites on our home page for some examples.

if you are looking at building location based apps of any sort, for browser or mobile, contact us now so we can discuss how we can help.

October 8, 2010 Posted by | AA Maps, AA Traffic, Auckland, car navigation, driving directions, geosmart, gps, iphone, lbs, lbs games, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Mobile maps, navman, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, real time traffic, route optimisation, Route2GO, social networking, software, tomtom, Traffic, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment