Get to know our users to design better online experiences. PART II: Geolocation

We have just talked about social networks as a tool to get to know our users and thus build meaningful experiences, but the ways to identify our audience are varied. Another factor that can have an impact on people's behavior and their interaction with a product or service is geographic location.

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Now we will address how to know the geographic information of the clients to know more about them and boost our business. The idea is to use this data to improve the experience that users have on our platform.

The basic principle is that people tend to look alike (sometimes even want to look alike) depending on where they live. The simplest and most obvious way to find out where our users are is by asking them this information when registering with us.

How to collect location data

Before talking about the data itself, we must have some considerations when collecting it: so that the process is not cumbersome or more difficult than it should, it is necessary that we try to normalize the format of the addresses at the time of the inscription and not later. This will largely avoid the process of checking one by one the validity of each address that has been entered.

For this, some ideas are suggested such as encouraging users to locate not only by writing the address, but also by pointing to a point on the map.

As we already mentioned in a previous post, social networks can also be useful in this regard, because here we can also find the geographical location of our followers and data on their behavior (in which businesses they register, at what time , etc.).

Once we've got the data organized and we've figured out where our users are located, we can start working to identify who they are.

As an example:

It is not surprising that there are certain points in common between people who live in the same building: they are willing to pay similar rents or mortgages, they probably have similar salaries and live with the same number of people.

How to generate value from geographic information

These data can be especially useful, especially for e-commerce companies. These are some of the advantages that knowing this data can bring us:

1. Ideas for new products: people who share the same geographic space tend to have similar lifestyles. Are we meeting the needs of our users or are there products and services that we are not offering?

2. Lines to better segment the product catalog: if we know the geographical location of our users, we will have a better idea of which products they need the most and which products should be the first they see when they enter our platform. Do they easily find all the products they need to meet their needs, or do they have to browse longer than it takes to find them?

3. Identify behavior patterns: tools such as Google Analytics allow to identify the aggregated data of traffic in specific segments. Analyzing the behavior of each segment allows us to identify patterns and trends to better understand our users and customers, compare the performance of different traffic sources and make decisions about future tactics to optimize investment and increase conversion. Geographic information is one of the segmentation variables that can help better understand behavior to improve the online experience.

4. Improvements to our home delivery and pickup system at headquarters: the experience that users of e-commerce platforms have also includes what happens once they have already made the purchase. Just look at the results of a study we conducted on online shopping habits and experience:

  • For 70% of those surveyed, free shipping is important or very important and half of the people are even willing to wait longer for their product if the shipping is free. By being clear about the geographic location of our users, we can create an efficient dispatch system that benefits them and our business.
  • 32% of respondents are willing to go to the store to find the product if there is the option of free delivery. This percentage is not less and, therefore, we must be clear about where our users are located so that it is as easy as possible for them to go to the store to pick up.
  • 36% of those surveyed declared having abandoned a purchase process, because the dispatch service was not available to their home address. If we want to deliver a complete service, avoid in-store pick-ups, and limit break points in the customer experience (such as backlogs), we can streamline the dispatch system by locating warehouses at strategic points according to the geographic location of buyers. If the user abandons a purchase for this reason, they will look for other options and stop visiting our site.

Finally, as with social networks, thanks to the geographical variable we could discover that perhaps there is interest in our brand from groups of users that we had not considered, which could translate into new business opportunities.

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