Have you ever searched a business nearby your location on Google or a location-based service apps? Have you ever typed restaurants, medical store or tools shop nearby? If yes, you have used location-based web apps, and this is becoming really popular recently, especially for a small business.
Mobile phones have changed the way of marketing for small businesses. It can now be more concentrated towards customers whose probability of conversion is high. According to a data given by Urban Airship, location-based targeting improves response rates by up to 5 times. And location-based app and website development solve most of sales and marketing problems for small to large businesses.
Challenges faced by Small and Medium Businesses
The biggest challenge that small and medium businesses face today is competition. They usually complain that they are unable to increase their sales because of the rising competition from the large enterprises. The reality is, competition is never a problem if you know how to market your product and provide everything that the large enterprises offer.
Customers go to a large company because of two reasons – credibility and low cost. Now think from your customer’s perspective, will you buy a product from a store that no one has heard of? The answer is a definite No! Isn’t it?
To gain credibility, you need to build your own brand and market your products. And the simplest way to do this is – build your own website and a mobile app.
Advertisements and promotions can be really costly, and the best way to ensure that your promotions are targeted to the right audience is location-based marketing.
How location-based websites and app help drive best ROI from location-based marketing efforts
The location-based marketing enables you to send marketing messages to customers in particular locations, through their mobile/tablets.
Some of the most famous location-based services are:
- Google My Business
- Facebook Places
Their users can receive your store’s information by doing one of the two things:
- Search on the website to find a local business that matches your profile
- Looking for the “check-in” data and likes of a user’s social media’s connection profile
Apart from helping these businesses to be found easily, these services do one other important thing for them – giving feedback. They allow users to rate the product/service of the business and write their experience with them. A business can use this information efficiently to improve their customer experience.
Websites like Yelp and Zomato have moved a step ahead with location-based marketing and provide notification of special offers and discounts to customers who happen to be nearby your store.
If you have a location-aware website or mobile application, it will do the same thing by fetching a user’s location information. This triggers a notification or an action when the user enters a location which is pre-defined by the business owner. The location of the mobile device is recorded by GPS signals, however, in places where the GPS signals are weak, beacon technology can be employed to calculate the exact location of the device.
How does Geolocation work?
Geolocation data can traditionally be accessed by knowing the visitor’s IP address. Once the website gets this information, it then looks up to a WHOIS service and gets its address information. The more accurate way that is now used to get access to this information is, GPS. A GPS chip is now placed in every mobile which provides this information directly to any service that has appropriate permissions.
Here are a few technologies that are used to calculate the exact location of a mobile device:
1. Cell-ID: It uses the information from cell phone towers to determine the location of the cell phone.
2. GPS: It uses a system of 31 satellites to accurately determine the latitude, longitude, and altitude of any device. It can be as accurate as 60 feet.
3. GLONASS: It is very similar to GPS but is developed by Russia to accurately measure position for extreme latitudes i.e. near poles.
4. Assisted GPS: It uses both Cell-ID and GPS signals to determine the exact location of the device. It is slightly more accurate than GPS alone.
5. Wi-Fi: It is similar to Cell-ID in a way that the Wi-Fi router is used to determine the location of the cell-phone. This gives more accurate information and works on the technology called Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI).
What is Geofencing?
This is when software or an app is designed to trigger a particular action or a set of actions when a device enters a pre-defined area. This can be used by stores to promote a new product or offer discounts/coupons to the customers entering a building.
Developing Geolocation Website or Apps
Each mobile app interacts with its operating system with the use of Application Programming Interface or APIs. These APIs enable the apps to carry out different functions. For using geolocation also, we need to use two kinds of APIs one, to know the position of the device and second, to show the positions on a map. Let’s understand how it works with the help of an example.
Say, you need to find the nearest restaurant from your location, here’s how an application can help you find it:
1. The user asks the application without entering his exact location. The app uses an API to find the user’s exact location. Then the app uses this data to match the location of the restaurants and list down the restaurants. It uses a second API to display the positions on the Map.
2. The user manually enters the information of his location. The app lists the restaurants near him. In this case, the first API is not used but the second one is used. The second API displays the restaurants on the map (as before).
The above example shows how the two APIs work and what difference between the two is. It is also possible to use just the first API and not the second one, in that way you can list the options to the user (also display the individual distances).
A visitor must authorize this information as to what data the website or the app can use. This is important to protect the user’s privacy. But at some point in time, we do turn on our location data to access these services.
What are the businesses that need location-based websites/apps?
There are a number of apps which needs to be location-aware in order to provide its services. The following are some of the examples of such apps.
Recommendation and Rating Apps
Apps like Yelp and Foursquare uses the location of the user to suggest them the nearest place where they can find the service they are looking for.
Users can share their current location to “check-in” their favorite places or see where their connections are. These can also help them know what events are happening in their city in the real-time.
Health and Fitness app
These apps need to know your location, speed, and your body activities to provide accurate information about their daily activities.
Dating apps such as Tinder need to know your current location so that it could suggest you a partner who lives near you.
Gaming and AR apps
In some multi-player gaming apps, you are allowed to find players based on your location. Also, in apps which use Augmented Reality (Pokemon Go tried to use AR); you need to use location data of the player.
Weather Forecast Apps
You cannot show the users the weather unless you have the access to their location.
Transport Service Apps
Apps such as Uber need to know your exact location to provide you the right transport facility.
Apps that let you book tickets for movies also need to know your location to give you accurate information.
Apps that let you book hotel tickets need to access your location information to find you the nearest hotel.
Some news apps use this information to give you more personalized and local news.
Services and Personal Assistance apps
Apps such as the ones to provide you domestic help/chore assistance, medical assistance, babysitters, or local mechanics need to access your location to get you the right help.
Retail shopping Apps
Retail stores can find extensive use of geolocation by sending users coupons and offers when they enter the vicinity of any of their stores. This will help the retail store owners to increase their reach, to reward their loyal customers, etc.
Location-aware apps: A solution for the problems of small and medium businesses
Location-based apps and websites are changes the world as we see today. For small and medium businesses this is opening a plethora of opportunities for them. This information is helping them in delivering the most relevant services according to their user’s current location.
Users are downloading and using these services not just for getting the most appropriate results but also, for fun or to be the part of the trend. This fact is verified by a survey according to which 51% of the respondents confirmed the above-mentioned reasons for downloading a location-based app.
In the times when small and medium-sized businesses are facing so much competition, location-based apps are the tools which are empowering them to compete for head-on with the large enterprises. These apps are the cheapest way to promote their stores without having to invest in costly advertisements.
Build your own location-aware app and website and serve your customers in the ways you have never done before.
How can i-Verve help?
i-Verve is a website development and mobile application development company. We have developed more than 1500 apps or websites for businesses ranging from small and medium-sized to large enterprises. These include location-aware apps which are very similar to that of Uber to use of iBeacons for eCommerce companies.