Exploring Broader Uses for Location Data for Businesses

At Blis, we’re fond of saying that ‘where you go defines who you are.’ While there’s truth to that, it’s even more accurate to say that where you go contributes to a greater understanding of who you are. We’re finding that combining location or movement data with other, complementary data is helping us build rich and valuable pictures of consumers and their behaviours – and that is allowing us to leverage Blis data in ways that go beyond targeted advertising.

We’ve been engaging in some exciting studies in crossover competition across a few different vertical markets, including automotive, retail fashion, and supermarkets. In the case of automotive, which was our first study, we were interested in learning about the behaviours of luxury car shoppers. Specifically, if three luxury car dealers are located in close proximity to each other, will a shopper go to all three? We set up geo-fences around several dealerships to observe.

What we found by tracking mobile device IDs was that if a shopper went to one luxury car dealership, they were unlikely to visit a direct competitor. In fact, they were more likely to visit a mid-market dealership than look at another high-end car. In other words, a shopper who looks at a Lexus is more likely to look at a Toyota Camry than Jaguar.

Another study we conducted observes High Street fashion retailers with a focus on physical store location. Our question was this: If a fashion retailer is planning to open a store in a new spot, should they be concerned about opening in the same precinct as competitors? Should they be concerned about the competition, or does it make more sense to be opportunistic, and count on the traffic they’re likely to receive from consumers shopping across the street? By establishing geo-fences around shops in a number of busy High Street areas, we’re able to track and analyze how consumers tend to shop for fashion.

Additionally, another study focuses on the new discount supermarkets rapidly gaining traction in the British grocery retail landscape. Legacy supermarket chains are deeply concerned by the proliferation of these new players and how much market share they appear to be losing to them. But are they? Are consumers ditching these established chains completely, or are they just testing out the new stores? Perhaps they’re only visiting the discount shops once a month, but generally remaining loyal to the older chains. It’s been difficult to accurately quantify this promiscuity in the past, but mobile data gives us the ability to see which consumers are shopping where, and when, and how frequently.

For us, this is an exciting new way to leverage mobile data – to measure the size and level of threat in an amongst brick-and-mortar businesses. We can offer a level of insight, analysis and consultation to these companies that goes far beyond advertising, and can affect their bottom line in even more meaningful ways. As head of insight, I believe this represents a huge opportunity for Blis and our customers, and my hope is that it’s only the beginning. There are so many potential uses for the rich, detailed data that comes to us every day. I’m optimistic that we’ll discover even more ways to help businesses and consumers enjoy and thrive in the era of mobile disruption.

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