Thinking Inside the Geofence

by Jenna Sindle

Location intelligence has become integral in the decision making process for retailers. By knowing how many potential customers are in a specific area at a specific time, retailers can really maximize their reach and impact.

But how can retailers, especially from an advertising perspective most effectively implement and utilize this location data? What format is going to enable them to accurately target their key market? Pitney Bowes believes the answer lies in geofencing.

In a recent company blog post, Pitney Bowes’ Michelle Santagate explained the concept of a geofence as it applies to advertising:

“A geofence is a type of polygon that defines a virtual perimeter surrounding an area of interest. A geofence will typically outline a real-world feature, such as a park or a shopping area. Some types of geofences, however, are generated by software and are used to represent an extended area of interest, such as a 3km radius surrounding a POI, or the area enclosing a 3 minute drive time to a POI.”

Santagate went on to discuss the advantages of leveraging geofencing technology for advertisers and how, when coupled with other data analytics tools, advertisers can dig into the minutia of a customer that is necessary to close a sale. In a world that operates under the impression that most experiences need to be tailored to their needs and interests (something for which retail is becoming increasingly famous), this is crucial.

That being said, the process of geofencing is a delicate one. Santagate noted how imperative accuracy is to the process and the potential for money wasted if the process is rushed.

“Accurate geofence data are critical to ensuring that digital ads are delivered to the correct target audience. If the geofence area is too large, advertising money will be wasted on sending targeted ads to people outside the area of interest and consumers may be annoyed or turn-off the application on the device. If the geofence area is too small, the full target audience will not be reached.”

When a retailer is able to successfully harness the power of geofencing in their advertising approach, they are more likely not only reach their key audience, but also reach them while they are in the vicinity and can realistically act on that targeted advertising.

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