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White Papers

Customers in the real world
The story of Things-4-You: reaping the benefits of IP geolocation
By: Quocirca
Published: December 2009
Logo for Quocirca

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Things-4-You is a fictional organisation that exemplifies the type of retailer that can benefit from IP geolocation. It has a UK-wide branch infrastructure and has expanded into Europe and North America. It also has a thriving online business, but, before using IP geolocation, the rate at which online visitors were turned to buying customers was unimpressive. This report uses the story of Things-4-You to demonstrate the potential of IP geolocation for any online retailer, but especially one that also has bricks and mortar stores.

  • For the majority of online activities there is a benefit from knowing where someone actually is in the physical world This is especially true for online retail, not just because goods need to be delivered, but also to make a customer's visit more personal based on the location and, where relevant, linking them with local stores
  • The one piece of information that is known about every online visitor is the IP address they originated from Whilst other information can be gleaned, for a first time visitor the IP address is the most useful when combined with information provided by geolocation providers, which can locate individuals down to the state, county or city level
  • IP geolocation enables Things-4-You to personalise the landing page of its web site based on a visitor's real world location At the country level this allows for local language and currency to be shown, but it goes much further in allowing events to be promoted to visitors from a particular town or area. A further benefit is to ensure that offers and sales comply with local regulations and sensitivities
  • Things-4-You has also proved that customers were researching online and buying offline (ROBO) and has been able to do something about it By linking customers with a local store, Things-4-You now offers them discounts for going to buy their goods there rather than at some competitor's store that sold the same brands
  • Geo-intelligence and better targeted online advertising are further benefits Knowing the provenance of online queries, Things-4-You can spot geographic buying trends and respond to them in its real-world stores. Keyword advertising is also now better focused by only paying for ads for searchers in particular locations
  • An on-demand offering was selected as the best way of procuring IP geolocation Using an in-the-cloud service ensures the geolocation information is always up to date and that Things-4-You did not itself have to host a database containing billions of records

Conclusions
For potential online customers, competitors are only a click away. Personalising their visit will keep them more engaged, whilst providing the opportunity to find out more about their requirements and turn them into a revenue-generating customer. As the story of Things-4-You shows, geolocation helps achieve this with the additional benefits of providing a link between online customers and real world stores while gathering geo-intelligence to drive marketing and advertising campaigns across all retail channels.

Disclaimer: Things-4-You is an entirely fictional company, as are its relationships with other organisations mentioned in the report, be they real or imaginary.

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