The Future of Location in Retail: Beyond Ad Targeting

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When global fashion retailers like H&M want insights into reducing unsold inventory and more accurately stocking shelves on a regional level, they turn to location data. When restaurant chains like Domino’s Pizza are looking for new opportunities to expand their business models, they turn to location data as well.

Much of the conversation surrounding location targeting trends and expectations focuses on successful marketing and advertising initiatives. (And we’ve covered those practices plenty here at Street Fight.) But behind the scenes, there’s a growing interest among major brands in using location data for its broader, strategic business power.

Location data is serving as the conduit to connect consumer-facing marketing initiatives with behind-the-scenes merchandising and logistics. According to a survey by Blis, WBR Insights, and Future Stores, the majority of retail marketers (71%) have some type of location strategy in place, with the primary goal being to drive foot traffic and trigger location-based mobile advertising. That’s not a particular surprise, given how popular the latest location-based marketing tactics have become. More surprising, however, is how common it has become for retailers to use location data for local product and inventory search (60%) and localized online customer service (51%).

That same survey found that 79% of retailers partner with third-party data, with the goal of collecting geolocation data (56%) and supporting geographical data visualization (45%).

These sorts of findings don’t surprise Jeff White, founder and CEO of the location intelligence firm Gravy Analytics. White is seeing insights from location data being used to power predictive analytics, behavioral modeling, sophisticated targeting right now.

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