“Location [data] . . . allows you to look back and say, ‘Pre-pandemic, who are the folks who went to Whole Foods? Who went to Costco? . . . How did that change during the pandemic? Who lost? Who won? And, who do we think is going to be at risk?’” said Duncan McCall, CEO of PlaceIQ, during our local intelligence session of Live with Search Engine Land, adding, “Location [data] allows you to look back, see these [behavior] changes and start to say, ‘What are the ones I want to now potentially try and change back?’ or, ‘What are the ones I want to try and lock in?”
E-commerce has been booming as quarantined customers take their shopping online, but smartphone location data has also shown that some customers are eager to return to brick and mortar businesses. For businesses that are among the first to re-open, messaging will be a crucial factor, said Foursquare CEO David Shim.
“If I know you went into my store for the last six months, but you haven’t been in the last two, I need to make sure that I’m reaching out, letting you know that my location is open, that my brand is there, that these are the hours of operation, because the muscle memory is already set — it’s getting rebuilt now,” Shim said, emphasizing that messaging is necessary to defend and grow your customer base as markets reopen. “You’re hearing about a couple of bankruptcies that are occurring; a lot of store locations are closing . . . there are opportunities that you find for conquesting because those customers have not been going there the last two months now that the store location is no longer there,” he said.
Why we care. COVID has disrupted consumer behavior as well as the pre-pandemic retail landscape. This upheaval creates opportunities for businesses that can identify new trends (or the return of old ones), enabling them to reclaim or possibly grow their customer bases. Location data is a valuable resource that can help businesses recognize and act on those trends.
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