Most brands are already using location data to tackle many of the challenges related to discovering, engaging and activating customers at the right time and place. This has become more important as Covid-19 lockdowns have reduced foot traffic for retailers.
Location technology platform Foursquare recently relaunched its Places database and introduced Places Enterprise API after a month-long effort to fully combine its data set with that of Factual, which merged with the platform in April 2020.
Now Foursquare claims Places consists of aspects of both POI data sets, including a ecosystem of trusted sources where there is data accuracy and freshness.
Aditi Kohli, managing director for Asia Pacific at Foursquare, explains this means from identifying new consumer markets and predictive analytics, to serving location-based advertising and offering personalized experiences for customers, location data’s many uses can lead to related benefits for businesses across varied functions, including marketing, digital, programmatic and product teams.
“For example, consider how you can easily use ride-hailing, food delivery apps or peer-to-peer marketplaces today; all of which require accurate pinpointing of your location and an up-to-date map of the world around you in order to be able to function properly. Foursquare provides such businesses with the accurate location technology and data needed to do this at scale,” she explains.
“Additionally, location data also delivers on performance by helping marketers measure ad effectiveness, as well as gather rich consumer insights.”
One marketplace using Foursquare location data is Singapore-based online marketplace Carousell. Victor Neo, engineering director for Singapore at Carousell, explains that location data empowers the business to be able to facilitate its buyers and sellers to transact in the most efficient way possible, such as via common and popular meet-up locations, and even within local communities and universities. This gives Carousell’s users an option to view their items in person and transact without waiting for their delivery turnaround times.
“Location data is key for the e-commerce industry, and more specifically marketplaces, as it allows for better searchability of listings and provides features to increase convenience for users,” he says.
“We are able to support hyper-localization with the use of location data to help our buyers and sellers transact faster and nearer to the places that they live and work in, and when they commute in between places. Users are able to search for listings near certain train stations or in their neighborhoods, depending on their country.”
He adds: “We will also be able to personalize our buyers’ shopping experiences with items that are not just relevant to them, but also items that are easily accessible to them.”
Carousell also shares that one of the ways businesses and e-commerce platforms can use location data to predict supply and demand by linking its customers’ online experiences with brick-and-mortar stores. By connecting website visits and browsing history to a person’s physical presence in the store, location data can help retailers better understand their customers’ behavior and address their needs accordingly.
For example, if a surge in the demand for bicycles has created a worldwide shortage, Neo says by using location data of users, these platforms can identify those in a particular area who are looking for bicycles to identify demand, and preemptively use this information to identify users who might have bicycles for sale locally in the area.
“This combination of hyper-localized location data coupled with data-backed analysis will allow businesses to make decisions faster,” he adds.
Kohli predicts that location data will only be more important in the shift towards a post-Covid-19 world, as in Foursquare’s recent Covid-19 full-year review report its location data showed that people are eager to re-engage in the physical world, even as consumer habits are shifting increasingly online.
This indicates that delivering the right message to the right audiences, in the right moment, still has relevance in today’s rapidly-changing landscape.
For Neo, he says Carousell expects to see that as the remote-working workforce increases, hyper-localization will change the way that people transact in person.
He explains that as more people work from home and places away from the workplace, populations will be more distributed than ever before. Businesses that previously relied on footfall or being placed in high-traffic locations would need to adapt their marketing and business strategies.
“Location data would allow them to provide more tailored and localized experiences based on their different target customers. For example, a home renovation company may decide to run ads on specific neighborhoods with new property launches,” he says.
“For small food and beverage businesses, they may choose to set pick-up locations on their listings with popular train stations, so customers can collect the items on the way home from work.”