With the GPS-enabled mobile device giving consumers on the move
an infinite stream of information, businesses need to learn how to better leverage location-based marketing.
It’s hard to believe, but almost nine out of 10 Australian retailers don’t have a smartphone-friendly website.
“It’s truly astonishing, since Australians are generally quick adopters of new technologies,” observes Lisa Wade, a director of Stamford Interactive, an Australian company helping clients improve technological capabilities.
“Just look at smartphone use – it’s everywhere. Geo-targeting is one of marketing’s hottest trends, but our own research finds more than 85 per cent of businesses aren’t taking advantage of this available technology.”
Some business operators take the view they need nothing besides great-looking websites. But, Wade warns, it’s inevitable that websites are tweaked specifically for mobile phone use, so why not get a jump-start now?
“The Myer department store chain is a good example of the way things should be done,” she says. “When you reach its website via a smartphone, you’re instantly taken to its specially adapted website for mobiles.
“These phone-oriented websites ideally don’t replicate the main website – they’re altered to be used more by fingers. They emphasise different things – for instance, mapping and store locations for customers on the move – and don’t have identical content.”
Businesses and their web designers should remind themselves more often that customers are using a multitude of channels to obtain information: an advertisement on TV, further research on a laptop or desktop, checking a smartphone for additional facts – culminating in a visit to the business or store. “It should all be a seamless experience,” maintains Wade.
At the very least, she suggests, a website on a smartphone should reveal which business outlets are near the prospective customer’s location with an active click-to-call function allowing the person to touch the number and call the store.
Should a business produce its own app or rely solely on its website? According to Wade, “existing loyal customers are likely to seek out the app but potential new customers are more likely to search for the website and look at what’s available”.
She suggests businesses think carefully about what they want to achieve. If the key objective is broadening reach, then a good mobile-friendly website will achieve better results than having a geo-targeted app. “But it’s still an immature market here for location-based marketing,” notes Wade. “Inevitably, it’ll become more important.”
However, there is an important potential pitfall. If, for example, a person indicates willingness to receive push notifications when near a store, it’s important to use this access sparingly and non-obtrusively. “Tell them what’s available that’s of real value and don’t make it seem like just another way to deliver junk mail,” advises Wade. “You want people to visit your store – not irritate them.”
To effectively leverage location-based marketing, Wade offers these tips:
- Help potential customers find your business by including a prominently placed “get directions from my current location” function on your mobile-friendly website.
- Clearly display nearest store locations and their opening hours on the mobile website.
- Ensure mobile websites cater to both types of customers who frequent bricks-and-mortar stores – those who enjoy browsing through stock and those with a get-in-and-get-out shopping style.
- List your products on price comparison sites (such as Getprice and Lasoo) that are mobile-optimised.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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