As covid restrictions continue to loosen around the country I’ve been getting more and more inquires around brick & mortar retail marketing.  Some of these conversations revolve around our omnichannel offering that combines offline and online media, but more and more of them are gravitating towards Geofencing 2.0.

I had a call this morning where a prospective client who mentioned that he’d tried geofencing on an project about 7 years ago with mixed results.  I hear this often because of how geofencing had originally been managed.  Originally, you’d drop a pin, set a distance for a radius and you’d start capturing anyone in that range and start serving digital ads.  Because most buildings and locations are circular in design, you were always going to end up targeting and serving ads to non-qualified people.  Think an expo event in a rectangular building.  In order to capture the whole building you have to create a large circle that will overlap into other irrelevant targets who where visiting outlying buildings.

Improvements to Geo-mapping and Mobile Apps Spawn Geofencing 2.0

Recent improvements to geo-mapping kickstarted the reboot of old school geofencing.  Gone is the old school pin and radius model with new pinpoint accurate polygon mapping now available.  This means you can avoid wasted impressions on unqualified people which instantly lowers your overall expense, and more importantly increases your marketing KPIs.

On top of mapping advancements, mobile apps that use location tracking have skyrocketed.  Even the more ardent privacy contientious individuals will leave the location tracking enabled for a handful of apps.  Combining pin-point accurate maps with location enabled phones and you get a landscape with nearly 95% coverage to improve you retail marketing.

The most important aspect to this kind of retail marketing is that you’re able to target ideal customers by their own actions.  Using the strategies listed below, you’re able to target ideal prospects because of the behavior they’re exhibiting in real-time.

Prior to Geofencing 2.0 the best traditional data strategies would look for self-selected data points, or “hand-raised data”.  If we use an automotive dealership, this kind of data could be the age and make of the vehicle they drive, or perhaps recently filled out a survey indicating buying interest.  These are some really strong data indicators, but they don’t give you a clear vision of how serious they are about a new purchase.

Geofencing 2.0 gives you auto shoppers as they walk a dealership in real-time.  We all know how aggressive car salespeople can be, but 2020 statistics show that only 12.5% of auto shoppers at a dealership drive off with new keys.  Unless you get a copy of their license for a test drive, you’re just hoping that the business card you handed the remaining 87.5% of shoppers is actually used.

As we walk through the following strategies, we’re going to continue to use automotive to showcase practical uses.

Top 3 Retail Marketing Strategies with Geofencing 2.0

1. Conquesting

The funny thing about dealerships is that in many cases where there’s one there’s many more next door.  So if you’ve got a dealership you’re literally seeing shoppers walk around the lots of your competitors.  Geofencing 2.0 allows your marketing to see them too. Once you’ve identified the most ideal competitors that you’d like to start poaching shoppers from, a campaign can instantly start tracking every shopper.  Once identified, you’re able to begin dripping digital ads that highlight key differentiations between you and them.

2. Affinity

This strategy is a little more nuanced, but is still quite effective.  With affinity geofencing you’re looking to target locations where your ideal shoppers are spending time.  I know it’s been a while since most of us have had in-person events, but here at Propelo we’re looking forward to speaking in person at an event this October.   So as we think about dealerships, auto shows are a high-target environment primed for geofencing.  Another affinity strategy would be to target mechanic shops in your market because those individuals are often tired of fixing their older vehicle and are more primed to want to purchase something new.

3. Four-Wall Retargeting

Remember the first time you were retargeted to after visiting a website?  As a marketer I was blown away by how clever this strategy was.  In hindsight the strategy was simple, but the technology had become sophisticated enough to turn a great idea into a high performing marketing channel.  Four-wall retargeting does the same thing for your retail marketing.  The great thing here is that this will capture both shoppers who leave with new keys, and those tire-kickers that drive your sales people crazy.

These past 6 months have been really fun working with clients on finding the right strategy, or even the right combination of strategies.  If you’d like to brainstorm how these strategies could be applied to your own business let me know we can jump on a call.  (415.648.7787 or

Until then, keep propelling your business forward!

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