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PHOTO: John Baker

According to 451 Research, location-based data can help marketers and brands provide better experiences for customers, even today. With location information, brands can offer personalized coupons, rewards and/or promotions based on location along the customer journey. Beyond that, brands are exploring using location-based data to help make customers' interactions easier and safer.

Nearly 77% of consumers presently have location-based services turned on, 35% of which are always turned on, with the other 42% turned on only for specific apps.

Below are six ways brands can use location to improve customer experience (CX).

1. Offer More Exact Pricing

“Online retailers can take advantage of location data to automatically source the most cost-effective option for shipping to a customer, calculate the taxes that the customer needs to pay on top of the item cost and provide an estimate of the item price in the customer's local currency if the customer is shopping from abroad,” said Fred Blair, founder of AwesomeHoops. “The value of providing this information will certainly make a difference in customer experience for retailers that are looking to tap into the international market.”

Blair cited the Saks Fifth Avenue ecommerce site as an excellent example: When a customer goes to the site, he or she is immediately notified through a pop-up indicating all prices will be in the customer's local currency, duties and taxes will be calculated at checkout, low international shipping rates will be applied and no further costs will be incurred when the item gets delivered.

“This makes the entire shopping experience a lot more convenient and transparent,” Blair said. “The customer does not have to second guess the total cost that they will need to pay when getting the item from Saks.

Related Article: Everyone Wants In on Location-Based Services

2. Geoframing for Better Targeted Promotions

“Geoframing allows for unprecedented opportunities when it comes to drastically reimagining customer experiences. It doesn’t require opting-in and uses the customers’ devices to identify their location down to a single meter,” said Eric Grindley, founder and CEO of Esquire Advertising.

Grindley offers the following example: A customer walks into a home improvement store looking for a power tool, as he enters that portion of the store, geoframing-enabled marketing capabilities can provide targeted alerts — online ads, emails, app notifications or even text messages, depending on the customer’s preferences.

“This level of personalization drastically improves customer experience, and in turn, increases sales for the goods or service provider," Grindley said. “Geoframing doesn’t rely on cookies and is flexible enough to be adapted to a wide variety of applications across numerous industries.”

3. Information for In-Store Improvements

Besides geoframing, location-based detail gives brick-and-mortar retailers key information to help them improve store layouts and in-store advertising, said Stephen Light, the CMO, and co-owner of Nolah Mattress.

“Marketers must strategically place their marketing material in areas where there is high traffic or put it in the same aisle together with frequently bought products. Doing so improves customer experience since customers immediately see the product they need is within reach,” Light said.

He added that by using location data to identify high-traffic areas, a retailer can strategically reconfigure the store set-up so that customers pass by low-traffic areas before arriving at high-traffic areas. Doing so improve customer experience because they will see, and perhaps purchase, items they would have otherwise overlooked.

Related Article: What Happens When IoT, Big Data and Real-Time Location Systems Meet?

4. Simple, More Efficient Takeout

"Right now, improving the customer experience really means making people’s lives easier and safer,” said Josh Wetzel, chief revenue officer of OneSignal.

A customer using an app that provides a restaurant with location data can order food, then head to the restaurant. The app tracks the customer’s location, sending a push notification as the customer approaches, providing information about which parking spot to use.

“This real-time messaging enables a smooth customer experience that can make them feel safer and more confident in frequenting these kinds of restaurants,” Wetzel said.

5. Improved Merchandising

Retailers can use location-based data to better serve their customers in a particular area by analyzing it to make the necessary updates to their product inventory, said Clarence Hempfield, vice president of product management, location intelligence for Precisely. “For example, by analyzing demographic data in a particular location, a grocery chain might learn that there is a high population of East Asian immigrants in a nearby community. This could present an opportunity to better serve that audience by adding specialty food items to the product mix, or by advertising in publications or media outlets that cater to the same audience.”

Related Article: When Online and In Person Meet: The Challenges of Takeout and Curbside Pick Up  

6. Better Contractor Information

“We built an FMS solution a few years back which required contractors to upload proof of location when they were on site,” said Shannon Wilks, RKWO account manager. “The system we developed not only bypassed the common browser issue for obtaining the current IP/location, we were able to obtain the exact longitude and latitude in real time.”

By using a photograph of the contracted site, as the metadata longitude, latitude, date and time provided proof when contractors were onsite, making it easier for company administrators and contractors to prove when and where they were working.