COVID-19 has adversely affected almost all businesses, but brick-and-mortar stores at the forefront. This includes all local businesses, like retail stores, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.
Now, as we enter the post-pandemic era, new opportunities have emerged for local businesses to bounce back. Contactless local marketing is one of them.
Let’s discuss the concepts of location-based marketing and how contactless technologies can make it more effective.
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What is location-based marketing?
Location-based marketing refers to a marketing approach that involves targeting customers at a personal, granular level based on their physical location. These tactics include the use of location-based data, such as GPS and Bluetooth information.
While all types of businesses can implement location-based marketing, it’s best suited for brick-and-mortar stores, such as retail shops, restaurants, and hotels. Over the years, local companies have used location-based marketing to discover, engage, convert, and retain customers.
You can use location-based marketing to send targeted offers, pique customer interest, and provide an improved customer experience.
Some reasons why you should invest in local marketing are:
- Immediate foot traffic: It allows you to inform customers about your business in their proximity and send exciting offers. This can lead to instant foot-traffic in your retail store or restaurant business.
- Deliver relevant ads: You can use real-time location to send more relevant and personalized ads to your customers. You can also time your ads based on the time and place a user is likely to interact with the ad.
- Drive customers away from competition: You can target people heading to your competitor’s business and engage them by providing a better offer. This way, you’ll be able to capture a broader market share.
- Create a better user Experience: Location-based marketing enables you to provide personalized experiences as per customers’ location and preferences. As a result, you provide a better customer experience.
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How can contactless technologies improve marketing?
Contactless technologies have become an essential part of location-based marketing. As COVID-19 continues to cripple humankind, people are looking to avoid human contact at all costs. Contactless solutions can go a long way in improving your local marketing efforts.
Contactless technology enables you to engage customers without coming in contact with them. Users can use these technologies to interact with brands in a local area. Some commonly implemented contactless technologies are contactless payments, QR codes, beacons, etc.
Let’s talk more about these technologies in the following section.
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Best contactless technologies for location-based marketing
Here’s a quick dive into the most commonly used contactless technologies for location-based marketing.
Digital payments have been out there for a while, but they’re not entirely touch-free. When a customer uses a card to pay, she gives you the card, you insert it into the POS terminal, and then she enters the pin. This process includes multiple touchpoints and can increase the risk of virus spread.
Completely contactless payment methods are available. NFC is one of them. NFC payments can happen at a distance of up to 4 cm, eliminating any possibility of physical contact. QR codes have also emerged as a popular digital payment method. Customers can scan the payment QR code from their smartphone and make the payment.
Now, you might think about how digital payments are related to location-based marketing. Here’s how. First, it can help you attract more customers. You can put up “NFC payments accepted” or something similar outside your store, letting customers know that they can pay without touching anything.
Second, it can encourage word of mouth. If customers have a safe and pleasant experience at your place, they’ll recommend you to their friends and family members. Hence, you’ll be able to attract more business.
QR code solutions
Quick-response (QR) codes have emerged as lifesavers in this time of crisis. They offer numerous benefits for both businesses and customers. Let’s discuss these advantages in brief.
Most e-wallets nowadays come with QR code capabilities, and you can use a QR code solution to generate a payment QR code and link it to your bank account.
Second, QR codes allow you to bridge the online-offline gap by sharing online information offline. You can link them to any piece of digital information, such as a web page, social profile, email newsletter, other marketing emails, discount codes, etc. People can scan the code and access the linked data.
You can make a QR code to engage your local audience by offering them digital experiences. For example, you can put up a QR code in your store and link it to your website. This would give your customers direct access to your website without the need to enter the URL manually.
Beacons take location-based marketing to the next level with proximity or hyper-local marketing. Beacons are Bluetooth-enabled hardware devices that can connect with and send targeted content to devices that enter their geofence (geographical boundary).
When a potential customer walks into a beacon’s geofence, the beacon can send an access request to show promotional content. If the customer accepts, the beacons will send targeted advertisements via browser notifications.
Interactive banner ads
You must’ve come across digital banners in the busy areas of large cities. They’re an upgrade to the traditional physical banner ads. Back in the day, companies used to put posters. If they had to make a change, they would take down the existing banner and replace it with a new one.
This process was, of course, time-consuming and cost-effective. Digital banner ads resolve this hurdle. Companies can tweak their ads, upload the new versions, and showcase them. However, these banner ads still have a drawback. They’re not interactive. People can’t do anything, even if they like the product mentioned in the ad.
Contactless technologies can make these ads interactive. You can share your phone number, social media profiles, and website on the banner ads so that people can take some action. Or, you can take things further with QR codes. Include QR codes on your banner ads and link them to a landing page, booking page, product page, contact page, etc.
Curbside pickup has been gaining a lot of popularity since the onset of the pandemic. Delivery agents coming to your doorstep can increase the risk of COVID-19. Businesses have started offering curbside pickup facilities to overcome this hurdle.
Customers can order a product, and instead of letting a delivery agent come to their house, they can let the delivery company keep it at a nearby hub. When the shipment reaches the nearest hub, the company informs the customer, who can then visit the hub and collect the package.
You can set up geofencing to boost the efficiency of your curbside pickup operations. With Wi-Fi and GPS, employees can get notified when a customer arrives near the store. Hence, they can make the product ready so that the customer doesn’t have to wait.
Reservations and bookings
Hotel and restaurant businesses have been severely affected by COVID-19. People have become more cautious of walking into restaurants and hotels. If you’re a hotel or restaurant business, you can revive your business by providing contactless reservations and bookings.
If you have a website or app, allow your customers to book a table or room from it. If not, you can accept bookings on call. You can also use QR codes to provide digital menus, thereby eliminating human contact.
Also Read: The value of location intelligence for retailers
Benefits of contactless technologies in location-based marketing
Now, why do you need contactless technologies? One apparent reason is safety and hygiene. Contactless technology allows you to offer products and services to your customers without putting them at risk of the virus.
But apart from adding a layer of safety, contactless technologies have many other benefits. Let’s discuss how implementing contactless technologies can boost your offline marketing efforts.
Increased safety and hygiene
In such times of crisis, the safety of your customers should be your priority. When you implement contactless technologies for location-based marketing, you send a clear message that you care about your customers’ safety. Your customers can interact with your brand without putting themselves at the risk of contracting the virus.
Seamless content promotion
Effective content promotion is the holy grail of marketing. No matter how unique your marketing content is, if it doesn’t reach your audience, you won’t attain the results. Contactless technologies allow you to share digital content with your local audience.
For example, you can use QR codes to share and promote your branded content. Link the code to the content you want to share. Upon scanning the code, the user will be directed to the content on her smartphone.
Effortless proximity marketing
Beacons make local marketing highly targeted and effortless. You can target users who are in the vicinity of your local business by sending them engaging content. Since 90% of consumers make occasional impulse purchases, proximity marketing can go a long way in boosting your sales and revenue.
As discussed, contactless technologies like QR codes can add omnichannel capabilities to your local marketing efforts. They can help you bridge the online-offline gap and offer a consistent brand experience across all channels.
There’s not much to talk about the importance of omnichannel marketing. Customers now expect to interact with their favorite brands on multiple channels. Hence, sticking to one channel can turn off your customers.
Enhanced user experience
Using contactless technologies for location-based marketing can boost customer experience at many levels. For starters, it provides a safe experience, as discussed earlier. Your existing and potential customers can engage with your brand without putting themselves at risk of coming in contact with the virus.
Contactless technologies enable digital payments, which further boost the customer experience. Consumers no longer need to carry cash or physical cards. They can use their smartphones and make the payment using NFC or QR codes. This significantly increases the customer experience.
Lastly, contactless technologies make content more accessible. You can share digital content with your local audience using QR codes, eliminating the need for manually finding the content online.
In the end, it’s all about the bottom line. When you implement local contactless marketing, you attract more customers, and you provide a better experience to them, which results in customer retention. This leads to more sales and revenue for your business in the long run.
In these mercurial times, where the future of small businesses is hard to predict, developing a loyal customer base and attaining consistent cash flow is critical. With contactless technologies, you can achieve that feat.
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As people have become more cautious of human contact, the importance of contactless technologies has increased. Businesses, especially physical stores, need to take the necessary measures to ensure customer safety and boost business performance at the same time. If you’re a retail store, hotel, restaurant, or any other local business, you should implement contactless technologies to boost your location-based marketing efforts.