Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Small business owners have their work cut out for them. From perfecting the offered products/services to increasing brand awareness and making sure the customer experience is extraordinary enough for a revisit and spreading the good word.
On top of all this, there is an added obstacle of pre-existing competitors who control the market and already have the resources in place to re-engage the existing customers, provide economical products and services, in effect leaving no wiggle room for a new player in the market to thrive.
How is a small business owner to compete then? With the rise of location-based technologies, there is a whole host of things that can help new players in the market, interacting with customers and making a lasting impression.
Targeting and sending Ads randomly to people are often flagged as spam, most tech-savvy users in today's day and age have learned to ignore ads subconsciously, largely due to lack of relevance. Personally tailored messages that fit the customer's geographic demographics and requirements are more effective in actually getting through to people.
Let us take a look at some promising and effective location-based technologies that can help small businesses, in truly defining themselves and solidifying their presence.
NFC (Near Field Communication)
NFC is a data transfer technology that has taken root in many retail outlets across the globe.
This tech can only be used in short distances, the NFC tags easily available online, not only help in making payments or giving product descriptions but can also be modified later to direct the customer to any product page, website or even a feedback form.
This versatile technology has been around for some time but is still new to the world of business.
These easily affordable NFC tags attached to any product can be scanned from the customer's smartphones leading them directly to the payment page, effectively eliminating the need to stand in long queues.
The technology to scan NFC tags is coming up in all-new mobile devices, paving the way for a smarter and refined consumer journey.
Beacons ~ Bluetooth 2.0
A Beacon is a Bluetooth radio transmitter that emits a signal that any smartphone can "read". A powerful technology, that every new business can leverage to interact with the customers and improve the overall user experience.
What do these Beacons want to say?
They can say whatever they are programmed for, it could be triggered to send a coupon code or provide a list of the best selling products, provide guidance in navigation, and much more.
They don't generate any data of their own, simply showcase the online website/app connected to it, making it simple in its use. You don't really need to "code" it just add whichever web page or application you want it to display.
These shining beacons simply use the Bluetooth technology to interact with devices within range, this is what truly sets them apart, the accessibility. As most smart devices possess Bluetooth technology, small businesses can make use of beacons to stand out and create a lasting impact on the customer.
Beacons are slowly finding their footing, the use of these Bluetooth powerhouses is already in play in many railway stations, retail stores, music festivals, airports, and malls.
As the name suggests, this technology uses GPS to target a specific area. Once a user enters or leaves this Geo fenced area, they can receive a location-based alert.
How exactly does it work? What are the applications?
Small businesses can use this technology to target customers with an app pop-up or an advertisement only when they enter this geographically mapped area.
An app that catalogs restaurants and cafes can use this tech to send restaurant suggestions to users when they enter a market area that has been geo-fenced, a retail store can send a popup to customers about their latest line of clothing and discounted products the moment they step into the mall.
People are more likely to respond to these location-centric notifications rather than general ads.
The scope of Geofencing is tremendous if done tactfully. It gives businesses the scope to target people within a predefined area, be it a mall, a stadium or a tech park hosting multiple offices.
Local businesses with regular footfall have many ways to keep the customers engaged, giving free internet access is a brilliant way to keep people in your store engrossed. The more a potential customer spends time in your store, the more likely he or she is to make a purchase.
Small businesses can give access to Wifi in exchange for following their business on social media or a quick google sign up. Not only is this a smooth way to generate leads, but it can also increase the company's social media presence which is crucial for all small businesses.
Is Location-Based Technology Important For Your Business?
The basis of most of these technologies is to provide new customers with an amazing, interactive experience with your business and in turn, re-targeting consumers that have already interacted with the business in some way.
Re-targeting has proven to be one of the most effective tools of retention marketing and builds on customer loyalty and purchases.
The cost-effective nature of these technologies makes it easily affordable and using it smartly can give new businesses that unique edge that sets them apart and inspires customer loyalty.