3 reasons why mapping apps are great for brands, events and visitor attractions

Making your business stand out from the crowd is now tougher than ever. Your customers’ expectations have shifted and their attention spans are shorter. This makes customer engagement a challenging process against a backdrop of fierce competition in an ever changing technological landscape. In order to deliver against your customers expectations you need to innovate constantly and provide contextually relevant experiences. But finding a solution to this problem is not always easy. It’s now estimated that 82% of people use their mobile devices when needing to use  GPS and mapping apps. That’s why big brands are developing mapping and geofencing apps in order to provide a highly customised and contextually relevant app for customers.

This means that if you’re a retailer or brand with a storefront, hosting a major event, or operating a visitor attraction, developing a mobile mapping app for your business could be a great way to engage new and existing customers at the point of sale. Mapping apps utilise geofencing technology to deliver highly targeted contextual experiences for new and existing customers. If you’re a brand or business, developing location based mobile marketing techniques to engage and monetise users can be a great idea. Today we’re exploring mapping apps, geofencing and everything you need to know as a brand to kick-start you first location based mobile marketing campaign.

What is geofencing?

Geo-fencing (or geofencing) is a feature that can be built into a mobile app that utilises the user’s global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define a specific geographical boundary. The best way to envisage a geofence is to think of it as a virtual boundary. Geofencing is now a core component of most location based mobile marketing campaigns and enables brands and businesses to deliver highly targeted messaging campaigns to mobile devices in a defined geographical area. This can be absolutely perfect for shopping malls, music festivals, large scale sporting events and a multitude of other business types. Here’s 3 reasons why mapping apps are great for brands:

1.) Mapping apps are great for engaging local shoppers

Geofencing can provide your business with location based marketing services who enter a specific geographic perimeter. This is often an ideal way for retailers or events managers to engage a localised audience in a highly immersive way. If your customers or events participants are within a certain boundary, you can start to deliver messages that are relevant to a particular promotion or experience. Some brands currently use this to great effect by sending promotional messaging to users smartphones and wearable devices when they’re in-store or at an event. The Starbucks app is a great example of a well executed mobile app that uses geofencing to enable customers to order a coffee based on their proximity to the store. This is great business for Starbucks as it means fewer customers have to stand in line in the store, which enables baristas to focus on providing a better service to customers already in the store. Starbucks has said its mobile order-and-pay system accounted for 12 percent of all U.S. transactions in the quarter ended April 1 – not to be scoffed at. This is a great example of how geofencing and mapping app technology is transforming companies marketing, sales and internal processes.

If you’re thinking of developing a location based mobile marketing campaign, all you need is an app and GPS coordinates to get started. If you can integrate your mapping app and geofencing campaign with your existing CRM system, this can be a great way to segment your audience and provide contextually sensitive offers.

But mapping apps aren’t just great for events and retail. If you’re business is an attraction, such as a theme park or visitor attraction, you can develop an app that maps the GPS coordinates of your entire property and use geofencing to enhance the experience, rather than simply using geofencing as a means of delivering promotional messages. Mapping apps and geofencing can be used to display real-time news and sales promotions that can be adapted according to the time of day, the anticipated weather and the type of device your customers are using. If you’re running a visitor attraction, you can enhance the experience by suggesting alternative sites of interest based on previous behaviour. If you know visitors have enjoyed a specific attraction, you can serve up suggestions of nearby attractions that are likely to fit with their buying habits and behaviours.

2.) You can turbo charge your analytics

Location based mobile marketing services and geofencing enable brands and businesses to add depth to their analytics by creating a highly contextualised experience. In terms of context, brands and marketers can use geofencing to deliver messages that are based on a series of data points relative to the user’s location. You can even tailor your campaign by device type and alter the message for smartwatch users and other wearables devices. For retailers, this can be a great technique for diverting your customers away from competitors.

By leveraging the power of a geofenced mapping app, you can start to understand highly detailed information about your customers (or visitors) spending habits. Using detailed analytics (there are a bunch of great platforms you can use for this) you can start to gain valuable insight into what users do when they’re in a particular location and how this affects their spending habits and visitor behaviour. You can start to develop detailed information about how they spend, what they spend their money on and which devices and technologies are used to complete a transaction. For visitor attractions, this might be a gamified event experience whereby the user is rewarded for completing certain actions within a particular location. Whilst it’s not necessarily a mapping app, the incredible success of Pokemon Go and how Niantic (the developer) has leveraged mapping technology and AR to create a highly immersive and engaging experience for app users is significant – this isn’t going away.

If you’re a brand or visitor attraction and thinking of developing a mapping based app, it’s essential that you consider how to integrate an analytical solution early on in the project. Your mapping app should be developed with clear KPI’s in mind and using analytics enables you to track the performance of your mapping app against plan. Think about how you can leverage your mapping app analytics to greater understand the behaviour of your visitors and provide them with a better experience.

3.) You can gamify your experience and offer rewards

When you have a detailed understanding of what your customers do, where they are and how they behave, you can create customised point-of-sale offers and massively enhance your user’s experience of an event or attraction.The best way to get started is to create a pilot project for your mapping app and geofencing campaign. Retailers, events managers and visitor attractions can use this data to gamify the user experience based on their location. If you’re a visitor attraction, you can develop a mapping app and offer rewards when users are within proximity of a particular feature within the boundaries of your premises. This enhances the customer experience by giving mobile device users a specific reason to complete a particular set of objectives or goals. Your first pilot project should take into consideration the precise coordinates of specific landmarks or locations within the visitor attraction itself, and provide a mechanism for rewarding users for completing certain actions. Take theme parks for example, a gamified user experience could be implemented to reward users for completing all of the rides, or for using a specific ride a certain number of times.

One great case study involving location sensitive geofencing was the ‘share a coke’ advertising campaign run by Coca-Cola a couple of years ago in Israel. Coca-Cola developed a mobile app that enabled customers to customise and personalise their products using their names. The app worked simply by enabling the user to enter their own name and when they were within proximity of a billboard, their name would be displayed. The mobile app used the location of the mobile device in combination with Google’s geofencing technology to provide a highly contextualised experience for app users.

Back in 2014, we developed a very successful mapping app for the Ryder Cup that enabled Golf fans to navigate the course at Gleneagles. The app itself used GPS to determine the location of each user and displayed the fastest route to get to each location within the venue. This helped golf fans to navigate to specific holes within the golf course, find places to eat, find ATM’s, establish the location of the nearest bathroom facility and used real-time data to help prevent crowd congestion in specific areas of the course. The app also used a feature that enabled fans to establish the precise location of their favorite players in relation to their whereabouts on the course. The event hosted over 250,000 people throughout the weekend and the app played a pivotal role in enabling the event organisers to manage traffic flow in a way that would not have been possible using traditional paper based maps.

Conclusion

Engaging new and existing customers can be very difficult for brands, retailers, events managers and visitor attractions, especially in relation to increased technological change and shifting consumer habits. Developing a mapping app and utilising geofencing offers a great way to provide a rich and meaningful experience for your customers. Getting started can be simple if you pilot a project that details the GPS coordinates of your event or visitor attraction. Once you have your app and GPS coordinates you can start to deliver highly engaging and contextually aware marketing messages, turbo charge your analytics and understanding of visitor behaviour and gamify your entire customer experience. If you’re an event or brand manager, or a visitor attraction seeking to learn more about the power of geofenced mapping technology and mobile marketing, contact Waracle today to kick-start the conversation!

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