You’ve no doubt heard buzzwords like “analytics”, “big data”, “cloud”, and “machine learning” being thrown around in various contexts. Well one thing they all have in common is that they are important aspects of location analytics, which has now become a vital part of many successful tech businesses.
Location analytics enable businesses to make the best use of available geographical data to help solve specific problems.The science of data analytics has taken large steps forward in recent years, and improving research has made the possibilities it can provide for business ventures seem endless.
Let's take a deeper look at these possibilities and understand what location analytics is and how it has such a large impact.
Location analytics, also known as location intelligence, aims to provide additional knowledge and insights from a set of pre-collected data by adding in extra geo-specific information.
This could be as simple as measuring how many visits it took the customer to go through with a purchase decision. When used in combination with an analytics platform, location analytics can provide deeper insights, such as the locations in which a product performs well.
"It is approximated that about 80 percent of all organizational data provides an opportunity to run location analytics."
Location analytics adds a new dimension to existing data models, which can then be exploited to make better-informed business decisions. It allows for mapping, visualization, data enrichment and spatial analysis capabilities to be implemented into existing analytics programs. This can then reveal alternative angles and connections that would have otherwise been unrecognisable.
Your store is not performing as it used to, but do you know why? Perhaps the overall foot traffic around the area of your brick-and-mortar has decreased. Location analytics can reveal such insights.
Location analytics has a wide range of applications in areas such as logistics, sales, and supply chains. Besides the usual shipment tracking and sale statistics, location data can also be used for comparison between different geographical areas. This is extremely helpful for organizations that are spread across a wide geographical area and are in need of location-based information to compare their branches performance country- or even worldwide.
Almost all of the data associated with a business transaction carries some aspect of location data. It is approximated that about 80 percent of all organizational data provides an opportunity to run location analytics. By mapping out the location-specific data, companies can easily visualize the ground realities of their business across all its locations and devise location-based strategies that will lead to better-informed campaigns, producing higher profits.
Some common application areas of location intelligence include:
Location analytics forms the backbone of many best practice methods for operations that any business undertakes. Let's say a business wants to gauge its sales performance. You could be crunching numbers in some areas while performing poorly in others. Finding where you are doing best can help you to understand the reasons behind your success and then implement these learnings in underperforming areas to drive improvement.
Location analytics also helps with risk management. By assessing the geographical terrain and weather patterns of delivery routes, a shipping company can avoid highly risky journeys and give its customers realistic delivery times.
Everything about a business exists in relation to a particular location and timeframe. Some businesses experience seasonal sales depending on the location and the time of sale. This is often due to factors outside of the company’s direct control, be they cultural or climatic. Particularly when looking to avoid overspending, you can reorganize the distribution of your products and services during these off-peak times and concentrate your efforts on better performing areas. By mapping out the hotspots where your product performs well, you can thus devise better strategies for sales, saving you time and money.
Where people live has a large effect on their buying patterns. You likely won’t have much success in selling warm winter coats in summer in a tropical location. While this example sounds simple, it highlights the importance of any product sales strategy needing to carefully gauge its market.
One of the best ways to do this is by making use of location data. Location analytics can give deeper insights into demographic and climatic trends, which can then inform your marketing decisions.
Location analytics provides opportunities to enable customizations on the services and products as per the preferences required by the customers in a locality.
This will not only make for happier, return customers, it will ensure that your efforts are having as great an impact as possible, thereby providing you with a better return on investment.
Targeted marketing can be improved with the fine-tuning provided by location intelligence. This enables companies to run promotional sales and offers that will work for spreading the positive brand image they seek.
For example, you could target and tailor your advertisements to a seasonal, local event in a specific region, like selling posters or costumes at Oktoberfest or t-shirts and merch at a convention. By implementing location data, you’re able to find these events and know that you’re reaching a captive audience who will already be interested in what you’re selling.
Assessing geography enables businesses, especially ones like real estate, to get better deals and estimate the prices of their sites efficiently. For instance, if your company wants to develop and sell a good piece of land you need to have a clear idea of connecting roads, local business performance, and upcoming developments around that area.
If you're in the delivery and logistics business, location analytics will come handy to estimate the actual costs involved in running your business. You can find the best routes, fix the rates based on the terrain, and offer guarantees on deliveries derived from an accurate date.
Location analytics has a huge scope given the pervasiveness of location information. Location data is now part of almost everything we do.
A 2018 Forbes report says that about 70% of telecommunications companies and 66% of enterprises attribute location intelligence as critical for their success. Indeed, more companies have been steadily focusing their R&D, sales and marketing strategies around location intelligence.
You might not even realize the pervasiveness of location analytics until you observe it specifically. It’s practically impossible to come across a smart device that does not carry a default mapping app, and that’s just one use case. Location data has found a place in everything from social media apps to highly secure banking applications.
The check-ins and geotagging you do with your social media posts are helping businesses gain insights into their customer sentiments. Bank apps verify your location and device when you sign into your account. Even the ads you repeatedly see in Google searches use location data to direct you to nearby businesses.
Practically every company has some way of measuring location in its services, and as the technology behind location analytics improves, its already strong potential will lead to more use cases and broader implementation.