“Geofencing” – is it just another app in the app store or a special breed in the market? These days, the geofencing apps have gained a lot more traction among medium and small-scale businesses. Both business owners and app resellers tend to invest on geofencing app builders to create native apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android users. They have been building new features and third-party integrations to extend functionalities of their business app.
Following the trend, it is easy to predict that over 90% of apps will have geotargeting capabilities in the next two years.
So what the heck is this Geofencing app? Is it a contemporary application for your customers to use your product or service better? Does it work as a complementary service along with your business portal?
What is a Geofencing app
A Geofencing app is a revenue-generating tool for small-scale businesses, non-profit organizations, marketing agencies, and entrepreneurs. The app helps them tap potential customers around their business locations by sending push-based notifications to their mobile devices. Technically speaking, the app establishes a virtual fence around a predefined geographic area near your business. It tracks GPS data of other devices in the neighborhood for location-based relevance and then sends customized messages to users of those devices.
Think if you have a chain of restaurants in your city. You want to lure your customers from nearby locations and keep them away from your competitors. Now, when a certain group of people enters a zone that falls under the geofencing area where your app is active in, they automatically get push-based notifications from your business app. Thus, you can plan to send personalized messages or attractive schemes to dining-lovers roaming around your restaurant. Customers, upon receiving offers and deals related alerts, can follow your restaurant and increase footfalls. The same applies to bar owners who want to notify users about their special offers on beers or wines.
Watch this recorded webinar on geo-location and mobile marketing to learn more about geolocation techniques and technologies.
Who uses a Geofencing Application
Any small and medium-scale business unit that wants to tap potential buyers from nearby locations can use this revenue generating app. For example:-
- A coffee shop owner can send alerts to users downtown who prefer pre-work caffeine.
- Real estate agencies can send notifications to prospective buyers when they drive or walk around open houses.
- Wedding planners can set up a geofencing area around retail outlets, bridal stores, flower shops, shopping malls and then send push-based notifications to potential buyers who are in need of such service.
- Multiplexes and theatre owners can trigger notification about their favorite shows or special offers on ticket price when movie-lovers are around.
A Geofencing app is predominantly used in location-based marketing campaigns. Travel apps, hotel discovery apps, music or movie apps, deal search apps, ecommerce apps, restaurant apps are good examples of it. Real estate players, automobile apps and event marketing companies deploy geofence around their business locations and run promotional offers for a specific duration or on a particular day.
How Geofencing apps work
Geofencing apps allow business owners to define a size of their business territory that they want to target. The app allows them to set a radius based on relevant locations and the existing competitions in their neighborhood. Business owners, for each of their geofenced areas, can set a unique customized message and send it to the device through push notifications.
In order for a geofencing app to work, users need to download the app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play into their devices. The app once installed in a mobile device asks permission from users to create a location for them. This enables geofencing or geotagging to work when the same user enters into the radius set by the business owner.
Geofencing app uses GPS data of user’s iOS or Android device to tap into the core location framework and identify location changes of the user. When the user changes his or her location, the device, in turn, sends the updated location to the geofencing app and then to the server, hosting information about the predefined geofencing area. Now when the device falls within the active geofenced area of the app, it automatically matches the location of the device with the preset business territories. When a user walks around a geofenced area, the device’s gyroscope and accelerometer track a large amount of movement and send location change related data to the geofencing app. For a driving car though, the change in motion is so fast that it prevents the app to determine updates in location.
The accuracy of geofencing depends on the device’s GPS data and its ability to send location related updates to your geofencing app. It is ideal that you set a smaller coverage area (essentially the neighborhood) for your app to work. This improves responsiveness between device’s GPS data and your geofencing app. As a matter of fact, GPS data triggers huge battery consumption for devices, so Apple and Google have restrained many apps to use GPS data.
Use of Geofencing apps grows manifold
Considering the popularity of geofencing mechanism in the apps world, many app developers and resellers have started building apps in the category of store finder and maps for local search and places. These apps are the best fit for users who are looking for good restaurants near home, a gym nearby, or a plumbing or food catering service in their neighborhood.
Such local store app also provide directions so that users can follow the route map to their preferred business locations. Moreover, apps like Vintelli Store Finder allow users to choose a business or service based on customer reviews and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). Another good example is Near Me local Search and Places app that allows users to find from diverse categories of business such as hotels, stores, clubs, sports and lounges, bars, restaurants, multiplexes, entertainment zones, medical stores and any type of residential services.
The best ways to use a geofencing app
We all know that users install and use an app at their discretion. If they are not happy with the service, they have every right to uninstall it anytime they want. The same applies to the geofencing app. Considering data privacy and users’ interests the topmost priorities, your push-based notifications can be detrimental at times. People don’t want to get bombarded with messages they dislike, doesn’t matter how relevant and attractive they are from your business perspective.
Let us consider these key points to make the best use of a geofencing app.
- Focus on your neighborhood first. Don’t expand your radius to a city level just because your app allows you to do so. Location-based relevance makes geofencing work at its best and maximizes results.
- Expand your location only when you are unable to get attention from your neighborhood.
- Don’t send alerts for everything happening around your business, anytime you want. Be selective and action-driven when you set a custom message to drive customers’ attention.
- Think of the value your message carries when sent as a notification to your target audience. Consider yourself as a hypothetical user and think how meaningful the offer or promo would be for you.
- Use the geofencing app as an organic way to delight customers. Add realistic values and send only timely, relevant and useful information to your prospects.
- Extend business possibilities of your geofencing app. Use it as a customer retention and engagement tool than just a selling mechanism.
- Conduct research work to collect various customer inputs such as real-time users’ presence, their browsing, and purchasing behaviors, app settings in devices and conversion techniques. It helps you regulate messaging pattern and frequency of alerts.
Read the Slideshare deck to find more details about geofencing and how to make the best use of it for your business app.
A Geofencing app, if crafted well, can really improve customer experience with your business. If you take care of vicinity relevance, content relevance, offer relevance, and time convenience, your marketing campaigns are most likely to succeed.