Location intelligence key to understanding customer behaviour post-pandemic

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The world has changed significantly in the last year and so has business, or more specifically, business intelligence.

This is particularly important for those in the retail sector where customers have changed their habits dramatically. Speaking anecdotally, here at the Hypertext office, a “quick trip to the shops” is a thing of the past with each excursion carefully planned so as to avoid risk of exposure.

How do retailers identify how the habits, needs and wants of customers have changed? Business intelligence, or more specifically, location intelligence.

“Location intelligence is the practice of collecting and managing customer location data, enriching it with other data sources, and analysing for contextual insights for the purposes of informing optimised actions, decisions, and customer experiences,” Forrester explained in this 2018 research report.

That’s a rather roundabout way of describing what location intelligence is. Thankfully, managing director at Master Data Management, Gary Allemann, can digest what Forrester has to say into something a bit more nuanced.

“Ultimately, it boils down to the ability to serve customers where they are – bringing products and services to them, rather than expecting them to seek them out,” says Allemann.

“The proliferation of location data, including mobile phones and connected devices on the Internet of Things (IoT), combined with advanced analytics technologies, means location intelligence has become a mainstream analytics tool for general business planning. Combining location intelligence with standard relational data and information from trusted third-party sources can unlock a variety of insights,” the MD adds.

But throwing reams of data at your business isn’t going to solve problems like a lack of foot traffic through the door. What you need is the right data and aspects such as how customers move through an area, what stores they already visit and what they spend on average will serve to better inform business decisions.

“Location information can also be linked with data such as customer demographics, movements and buying patterns. This insight can be used to drive personalised marketing campaigns that help to better serve customers and in turn improve sales. Using location intelligence and insight, retailers are empowered to forecast trends and identify threats, which in turn leads to improved customer services and a significant competitive edge,” says Allemann.

But there is an elephant in the room as regards data collection – FLoC or the Federated Learning of Cohorts.

This new tech that may replace cookies if implemented could change how advertisers and businesses coral data. While FLoC is a ways off of being implemented if it ever is, location data will remain valuable to businesses.

“Location intelligence is not about tracking browser behaviour per se. It is about understanding how the customer location should be included into analytics and decision making,” Allemann clarifies.

“The location of the browser may be part of this equation. However, more generally, location is calculated based on opt-in-sources – which include the customer proving an address, providing access to location on their mobile, etc. As technology evolves (for example, cookies being replaced by FLoC) marketeers should still be factoring location into their analytics,” the MD adds.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.

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