GeoSmart Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Socialisation Game Mechanics on Loyalty Cards

In our last blog I wrote about achievements such as points or rewards and the appointment dynamic. Another aspect that is very powerful is socialisation. There are many aspects to this including profiling, recommendations and forums and using the appointment dynamic to get more people in the same place.

There are many for and against aspects to profiling and it is happening from a Google level down to individual retailers. It is very important if you are profiling to correctly interpret information and to ensure that if you are doing it in a loyalty environment that the loyalty members understand what you are doing and that they have given their permission.

I have said on many occasions that done in the right way, combining educated opt in, location, interests and open to buy is very powerful. As I’ve said before, if Borders (I have  VIP Card on my key ring) sent me a notification saying that the new Stephen King Book 11/22/63 is in store and they will hold a copy for me with a special promotional offer for the next half hour, knowing that I am in the neighbourhood, I will probably go and buy it.

However, if they sent me the same message about the latest top 10 recommendations of a certain radio host were in stock, I would probably opt out of their service, even though I may at some stage have bought one of those books as a gift for my wife.

There are many ways to mine data about what people are buying and it doesn’t have to be down to product level, category level would be very powerful, and it amazes me that retailers don’t use this as a tool.

Profiling needs to be relatively smart and needs Business Analysts able to interpret information and look for trends and not make assumptions on the basis of one or two retail or other destination visits. Buying a hammer doesn’t make me a handyman, but buying tools on a regular basis would constitute a trend. Of course where someone lives can also be a valuable pointer and our new BIonaMAP application that I’ve blogged about before can provide valuable information in looking at trends from multiple people, especially when combined with data from the Department of Statistics Census which the application supports and Mesh Block and Area unit level.

Recommendations are powerful. In 2009 Nielsen’s released the results of a study that said that 90% of consumers trusted recommendations from people they know, 70% trusted recommendations from people who post them online and 24% trusted text ads that appeared on their mobiles. There are many ways to encourage people to comment on products or locations in a mobile environment. Some organisations worry about what people will say about them, but if that is the case, perhaps they have some work to do and better to know what they are saying and be able to engage with them, or as was agreed at the last Social Media Club meeting in Auckland, the common scenario is that if someone criticises a business in an online forum, others very quickly come to its defence. In a closed environment it is of course much easier to encourage the behaviour you are looking for from participants by providing them with the value they want. This can be done by rewards such as points for participation, bribes such as prizes and by engaging and showing an interest in them.

It has been expressed to me that social media requires additional resources and expertise often not available within destination businesses, particularly retail. Yes it does, the key cost is time and you do need someone who knows what they are doing, but what does traditional advertising cost. If you buy a reasonable sized advertisement in a newspaper, or get an agency to generate letter box mail, what does it cost for creative, artwork, printing and distribution? How many hours of a person’s time would that buy? It’s just another tool and the great thing is that to test the market using services like Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter is that you can try them for free. Add location in an app or mobile web site does involve cost, but done well the return can be huge.

Socialisation offers many more exciting opportunities, but to find out what I am talking about, you will have to come back for the next blog. Please feel free to add your comments in the meantime.

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Loyalty Card, proximity based marketing, Retail, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Location is Going Places

Obviously we would love to be writing more blogs about how our clients and partners are writing location-based apps using GeoSmart Maps API’s and Web Services and how we are helping the discover new ways to use location for proximity based marketing, location-based games (read future proximity based marketing), location-based education and  much more.The good news is that there are many new projects happening and more announcements to come next week from our camp.

There are companies who automatically go to global map providers because they perceive there is no difference and maps are pretty much all the same. To those people I say, go and have a look at the new Upper Harbour Motorway on AA Maps (one of our clients) using GeoSmart Maps and then check any other map provider on the web or on a mobile application. It’s only one of many locations we update as they happen because we are local and we care about providing the best data to our clients and to New Zealand motorists, but it is pretty major if you travel between west and north Auckland.

So this blog is for those of you who are wanting to develop applications using quality maps and location-based data, because we want to keep you informed and share great ideas with you and help you achieve your goals, whatever your business models and budgets may be.

One of the areas that I think is huge is proximity based marketing. If you are running loyalty programs, you really need to think about what you are doing. If they are working well, then we say they could be working much better, if they are not performing the way you would like, you should talk to us about how we can help, because location is our bread and butter.

As we have discussed before, the marriage of social media and location is really going places. I’d like to mention a couple of recent developments relevant to the many blogs here.

Foursquare

Now obviously Foursquare is global and needs more than the excellent New Zealand and Australian Maps we provide, but they are really showing the way to develop successful check in software. Want to know more about check ins and Foursquare have a look at more of the blogs on this site.

One of the things that people have been asking about is how to push a message to people based on their proximity. In effect, rather than have people open up Foursquare and look for deals and promotions near you, what people have been asking me about almost daily is how do we push an alert to people, rather than have them stumble on opportunities.

Now Foursquare has their own very popular application and I hope to hear that their latest announcement appears on their own application as well as the API’s they offer to developers. The Foursquare global hackathon starts tomorrow and it has een whispered on many sites around the world that one of the new features to be launched there is a Push API.

What does this mean? Well effectively it is an opportunity for developers to look at ways to send push messages to people using their applications using the Foursquare API’s. During the hackathon there will be competitions to see who can come up with the best applications using this functionality over the week. It could be almost anything and I’m hoping that this will provide our local New Zealand developers with ideas as to what they can do using these concepts. A few ideas being floated include:

  • Your mobile shopping list reminds you that you haven’t bought the milk and you are passing your local grocery store.
  • You are at a bar or restaurant and your app tells you that you have friends nearby. You can notify them where you are and get them to join you.
  • Your restaurant has empty seats and you have loyalty customers nearby, send them an invitation with tonight’s specials
  • Your loyalty card has double points today and you are about to pass your favourite Petrol Station, DIY, Clothing, Consumer Electronics store

Obviously we have much cooler ideas in our treasure chest to share with our clients, but you get the idea I hope. This is one of the missing links and is going to turn the concept of check-ins on its ear in my humble opinion. Now you don’t need to use Foursquare for this, although I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Personally I’d like to see these sorts of things being developed and proven locally in the way good Kiwi entrepreneurs do, with support from GeoSmart and then shipped overseas generating export revenues.

We have clever and passionate people here and sometimes it frustrates me that companies developing applications around locality instantly go to American or other map providers who aren’t passionate about New Zealand aren’t keeping their maps up to date and don’t have local resources to help. OK, I’m off my soap box people.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, channel partner, Check Ins, competition, competitions, foursquare, geosmart, gps, ICT, Indoor Navigation, iphone, lbs, lbs games, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Social Media, social networking, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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