Geofencing is a technology that allows you to create a virtual zone on the map and target customers who are in it.
Unlike beacons, which are designed for precise locations – for example, a particular store in the mall or even a separate item in this store – geofencing technology allows you to reach all those who find themselves in the specified radius.
The tracking zone can be of any shape and size, you can simply draw it in Google Maps. Your app will track when customers enter and exit the radius and when they stay in it for a longer period of time. In any of the moments – when a customer enters the zone, after they spent a certain amount of time within it and when they exit it – you can send a notification.
How to use geofencing for your business is best known only to you, but we’ll tell you about unusual and tricky things that you can do with the technology.
After a customer left the zone you outlined after a long stay in it – that is, he was in your store and probably bought something – you can send a push or SMS with a small questionnaire about whether he liked everything. Of course, such surveys should be rewarded with a discount or something in that fashion.
Create a zone around your competitors. This will let you know what percentage of your customers are also visiting competitors. You can send them relevant messages, for example, discounts and promotions.
Gathering information about tastes and preferences
Live Nation, the company that organizes concerts at the world’s largest venues, uses geofence to reach all concert goers. They look at what moments users shared in social networks most, thus receiving thousands of reviews about each of their events. This allows them to improve the work of the company itself and adjust the concert program if necessary.
This method solves the hashtag and geotag problem, which collects almost all user-generated content. In this case, they will parse even those posts in which there is not a single mention of the event.
The main disadvantage of geofencing is the accuracy of positioning. A standard set of GPS, mobile Internet and Wi-Fi is used to determine the location. There are two types of tracking: active and passive.
Active implies an unlikely scenario: a user walks past your property holding a smartphone with your app open. Then you will be able to use GPS to determine quite precisely where your customer is located. Another problem, besides this never happening, is that GPS drains battery very quickly. Any advanced user will quickly find the culprit and delete your app.
Passive tracking is much less accurate. It does not use GPS and works in the background using the mobile Internet. There is no special support for this on the OS level too. iOS supports location monitoring, which allows to wake an app up when entering or leaving a certain location, but there is no full-scale solution.
Many services offer to solve this problem with the help of their SDKs, promising high accuracy and minimal load on the battery. Among them are Proxim.io, Pulsate, Plot Projects, GeoMoby and many others.