Geofencing And Mobile Push Notifications: A Match Made In Customer Engagement Heaven

0aaaCasey Gannon Shopgate

In a world where people are bombarded by noise and messages at all times, there’s extreme value in being able to communicate instantly and directly with consumers. Breaking through the clutter and capturing a consumer’s attention is only effective when the right information is being shared at the right time and place. The question is, however, what can retailers do to send these timely, relevant messages directly and personally to consumers and trigger action?

For savvy retailers, strategic geofencing by setting up a virtual perimeter that reaches a customer’s most personal device via push notifications is the answer.

Geofencing Done Right In The Real World

According to a survey from Localytics, 42% of smartphone users said they’d use a retailer’s app more if it sent them push notifications triggered by their present location. Geofencing technology is crucial to driving this type of engagement, giving retailers the ability to send contextually relevant push notifications on smartphones to help drive consumers to stores. Retailers can use geofencing-powered communication to optimize their mobile capabilities, targeting consumers where they are and staying at the top of their radar based on current location and location history.


Mizuno USA, a leading sports and athletic goods retailer, recently updated its mobile app to drive in-store traffic to its dealers. When a customer is near a dealer’s store, Mizuno can send a geofence-powered push notification directly to a user’s smartphone. Once the user clicks on it, he or she will be taken directly to Google Maps to easily locate the stores that are within a specified geofence radius. The same can be done as soon as a user is near a competitor’s store, steering them away with a better promotion or offer. Retailers can even create a push notification campaign targeting users at a relevant sporting event, sending participants an incentive to visit a brick-and-mortar store while creating a positive association of the brand.

Other innovative retailers and brands have also recently utilized geofencing to their advantage:

  • McDonald’s recently connected geofenced billboards to its in-app advertising on Waze to achieve 6.4 million mobile impressions and prompt consumers to visit a nearby location during their drive.
  • A Volvo Dealership in the New York Tri-State metro has utilized geofencing initiatives to target consumers in luxury markets and competitor dealerships, as well as consumers within their own dealership, to achieve a 140% increase in foot traffic.
  • Nordstrom utilizes geofencing to identify when loyal customers are within the store to offer hyper-personalized customer service.

Geofencing Best Practices For Savvy Retailers

To maximize geofencing efforts, retailers need to consider the most effective strategies. Considering that geofencing can be one of the best ways to drive consumers to purchase, retailers should think about the following when launching a campaign:

  • Identify target customers for a geofencing strategy, keeping in mind that demographics will change based on location.
  • How can retailers most effectively utilize geofencing to drive consumers who are nearby into the store? What is the most relevant messaging to drive the “call to action?” Is it a local flash sale promotion or a personalized message to promote an in-store event?
  • Consider a competitive stance by utilizing a geofencing strategy to target consumers at competing stores, prompting them to come into your store instead.
  • Utilize a cross-collaborative stance by working with resellers, partners or even relevant events to deliver personalized information to consumers and drive key benefits for all parties involved.
  • Have the right technology to make a geofencing strategy work throughout all locations and deliver the right messaging at the right time.
  • Moderate geofencing campaigns through frequency caps to avoid sending consumers too many push notifications.

The modern shopper is busy and always on the move, but they still crave personal, one-to-one attention from the brands they love. Not only does geofencing technology help successfully market the on-the-go mobile user, but it also adds context to mobile customers’ buying habits so that marketers can better understand, engage, convert and retarget loyal customers.

Casey Gannon, Global VP of Marketing at Shopgate, is an experienced tech marketer, driven to develop marketing strategies that blend traditional techniques with emerging technology. Her specialties include developing marketing strategies focused on consumer and B2B acquisition and retention, building compelling marketing collateral with simple, cohesive messages and optimizing sizable marketing budgets. When she’s not looking ahead to the next opportunity, Gannon is a busy mom, soccer player and adjunct professor at her alma mater, St. Edward’s University.

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