Location Data and Retail

Retail marketers have used “drive-time analysis” for years to define the customer base for a brick and mortar location. Direct mail and other campaigns would be created to target customers within a certain distance. The location data trend has moved this concept forward. The location data available from thousands of data points collected from mobile devices and IoT sensor input goes well beyond drive-time in providing intelligence on customer behavior. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has advanced to meet the demands of the higher velocity and volume of data to allow marketers to better use it.

With the proper analytics, location data can be instrumental in creating highly personalized campaigns. It can provide fresh, immediate information that can define the personality of the consumer, painting the picture of who and where they are. Retailers can use this information in many ways to deepen the relationship with their customers and improve the retail experience.

Retailers need to learn how to use location data to be competitive. Customers are expecting a personalized experience, but also are demanding transparency, convenience and speed in their transactions. Analytics can mine the data to create detailed customer profiles that can inform discussion and strategy between departments of retail organizations.

Uses on Site

Location data can be used to plan store location. Patterns can by analyzed to ensure the customer segment targeted is available and that customers are not being siphoned from a nearby existing branch.

Store layout can be designed using behavior patterns of consumers moving through the store and their interactions with displays. Specific products can be tracked throughout the store. Consumer Behavior patterns can inform decisions such as open and close times and staffing.

Senior management of retail chains can monitor storms and help the affected locations to prepare, divert inventory to preserve it from damage, and anticipate the needs during the aftermath. Even flu outbreaks or other recurring consumer issues can be tracked and planned for.


It is not a proven science yet, so retailers would be wise to make a small investment to test their campaigns that are based on location data. Once successful strategies are validated, they can scale.

Realtime location based targeting involves messaging while a customer is in a specific location. Historical location targeting or retargeting involves gathering intelligence over time to build an audience and then creating a campaign at a later date.

There is also a method of targeting based on actual visits to a specific location. This can include customers that visit any of the franchise locations or any of the same type of shops in an area. Interest based targeting can involve a few data points at once to build a segment with similar interests. Segmentation can become as broad or specific as required to achieve campaign goals.

Attribution can be measured and quantified better with location data. Once retailers have this data, they can establish a link between the delivered ad and a store visit. This allows marketers the ability to calculate the ROI from their campaigns.

Customer Experience

Retailers can use location data to better track physical behavior so that they can mimic the online personalized experience that consumers are accustomed to. Using a Location SDK in their consumer facing app can support the location based personalization efforts and link the online and offline customer experience. Notification can be sent when the user is in a relevant location or when they have items in their app basket and they are approaching a physical store.

Location data can help personalize ads, changing the content for segments of the audience. Users that have visited a gym can be targeted with content on health drinks. Or content about a coffee special at one boutique shop can be delivered to consumers who have historically visited any coffee shop in the specified locale.

Keep up with the Trend

Recognizing the value of location data for the retail market can be the difference between success and not so much. Whether marketing for a small local business or a national franchise, creating effective, personalized advertising successfully requires knowledge of your customer. Location data can provide solid insight into who will be interested in your product, where they will be and when. Whether your campaign goal includes direct mail or digital advertising, a partner like T/O can provide solutions to help you stay on top of the location data trend.