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5 reasons why Retailers need Location Intelligence to settle into “New Normal”

Colour-coded heat map of catchment areas in Berlin to show home location hotspots and movement trends of the local population

Can I finally visit my favorite restaurant again? Google will tell me. Vice versa: Does the restaurant owner know how many people return, and when? Unfortunately, not.

Retail businesses currently go through one of the toughest times since the Great Depression. They need to shut down stores, reopen others, and shift business hours. They need to make long-term decisions and react to short-term changes – all without knowing where customers are and if they will come back.

When consumer behavior changes within days, a survey conducted last week is just as insightful as reading cards. It just isn’t enough. You cannot understand a local market with a hundred stores by counting or surveying people only in one street.

So how can retailers get reliable, real-time information on consumer behavior in any location?

Offline World, Online Capabilities

Mobile-based location Intelligence is the answer: By turning GPS signals from millions of mobile devices into anonymized location insights, businesses with physical stores can make fast and informed decisions based on real customer data.

And it works. Location intelligence has been used by governments worldwide for handling the medical crisis. In Germany, for example, the Robert Koch Institute used anonymized smartphone location data from Deutsche Telekom to predict the spread of the virus and allocate resources to expected Corona hotspots.

This technology can also help retailers and Commercial Real Estate businesses survive and prosper. Here is how – and why you should consider using it.

Location Intelligence answers crucial business questions

1.    Should I relocate or close stores?

Mobile-based location intelligence can detect where customers come from and go to. For example, if two stores share the same customer group, belong to the same chain, and are located close to each other, the retail chain could consider relocating one.

2.    Which stores do my customers still go to?

Location technology can determine customers’ most popular places. It can provide stats on how many people visit each location hourly, weekly, and monthly. This is particularly useful when comparing it to local competitors or “pre-corona” times, so you know where things stand.

3.    How do customers react to changes?

Context is key in understanding customer reactions. When Corona broke out, Placense was able to show that grocery shoppers in Munich reacted 2 weeks earlier than in Frankfurt and that people preferred one-stop-shop hypermarkets to stock up. If detected early, companies can utilize these trends to retain new customers.

4.    Who are my biggest competitors now?

By analyzing stats like the number of visits, common visitor profiles, and visit duration, businesses get a good visual of their competitive landscape. In some cities, Burger King’s new competitor number 1 might no longer be the McDonalds, but a close-by Rewe with a salad bar.

5.    How do people get to my place?

To avoid big crowds and having to wear a mask on public transport, many people today prefer to commute by bike or private cars. By understanding these new movement patterns, public transport can shift capacities to places with high demand, ensure physical distancing, and save costs.


Bottom line – rise and shine

Balancing strategy with daily uncertainty is an integral part of the “New Normal”. 

Reliable, anonymized movement data can help businesses to answer complex questions. They can help to flatten the curve. And they can help to turn this crisis into an opportunity. 

Don’t miss out on this.

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