Australia: A leading Australian geo-retail specialist declared retail executives must ‘know their place’ if their businesses are to successfully emerge from the sector’s worst performing year in a generation.
Dama Kumarasingham, a leading consultant at location intelligence specialist Esri Australia, urged the sector to exploit new location-based technologies to seduce shoppers back to their stores after recent ABS figures showed retailers suffered their worst year since 1984 – including a 0.1 percent fall in turnover during December.
“Retailers have been struggling with poor trade for at least the last two years due to the flow on effects from declining global economic conditions, the increasing cost of operations and the rise of online spending,” Kumarasingham said.
Kumarasingham further stated that the growth of online stores had changed customer shopping behaviour, and the only way retailers could compete was to provide a customer experience that could not be reproduced online.
“Geo-locator technology delivered through the well-established science of GIS can re-establish the store-front as a key advantage and critical point of difference,” Kumarasingham added.
“Australia has more smartphone users per capita than any other country in the world with the exception of Singapore – and brick and mortar retailers can take advantage of this.
“Retailers need to connect directly with customers and entice them into their stores by using GIS to deliver personalised marketing straight to the palms of shoppers’ hands as they move within the vicinity of their stores.
“For example, digital catalogues containing only items a customer has previously shown preference for can be delivered with more precision and timeliness than the traditional scatter-gun approach of home-delivered catalogues.
“A shopper could receive a text when they walk past a cosmetic counter, alerting them to a special offer on their favourite brand of moisturiser or recommending a suite of complimentary products.
“The potential for this kind of targeted, personalised marketing is limitless.”
“With GIS technology, this type of individualised marketing is already possible – and necessary – for retailers wanting to take customer engagement to the next level,” Kumarasingham observed.
“Much of the customer data retailers have access to is already location-related, such as where customers live and where they choose to shop.
“GIS technology can combine these geographic elements with other types of customer information, such as salary, age and purchasing decisions like what they buy and when they buy – exposing new insights into consumer spending habits and enabling more targeted marketing.”
Kumarasingham further opined that the location-based marketing had already taken off in the U.S. and Europe and, while some Australian businesses had trialled similar technology, retailers must be more proactive in properly leveraging location as a marketing tool.
Source: Esri Australia