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Monday, January 7, 2013

Geofencing Taking Aim at Showrooming

Geofencing may go mainstream this year, says the Things to Watch in Retail 2013 report from JWT. The global marketing company formerly known as J. Walter Thompson predicts the practice will become an effective weapon in retailers’ fight against showrooming.

Geofencing refers to an opt-in text-messaging system triggered whenever the recipient walks into a store or its nearby environs. Stores are able to text special offers aimed at clinching an immediate sale on the premises.

Although geofencing has been available for several years, it’s been used mostly by specialty retailers on a limited basis. Now, though, JWT sees signs that it’s expanding into mall chain stores such as Best Buy as a means to persuade shoppers to purchase in person rather than just browsing in the store and going online to buy from another merchant.

For retailers catering to young adults, or really anyone trying to get the attention of the college student-aged cohort, text messages could be the most effective means of reaching this age group, better than e-mail, snail mail, or possibly even social media. A new survey of 1,500 smartphone owners conducted by Experian Marketing indicated 85% of 18- to 24-year-olds use their phones weekly for texting, compared to just 59% of owners across all ages.

On average, according to the survey, the under-24 set sends and receives more than 120 text messages a day. Many keep their phones bedside every night just in case they get a message and consider texts to be on the same personal level as phone calls.

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