You Can Be Like Amazon (and eBay), Too

By Adam Figueira

July 30, 2013

Last week’s announcement that eBay is ramping up its same-day delivery got me thinking: Why isn’t every retailer offering a similar service?

Using geotargeting to merely welcome a visitor from his or her hometown is really geotargeting in a vacuum. Without context, simply knowing that I’m in Philadelphia―or you’re in [insert city]―leads to a very limited number of use cases. Said another way, displaying a banner that says, “Welcome visitors from Philadelphia” is cool, but doesn’t actually lead to a more relevant shopping experience.

In fact, these early forms of geotargeting did the exact opposite and are borderline creepy. You’re telling the customer that you’re smart, but the shopping experience for this visitor isn’t really any better.

shutterstock_118470892The most relevant form of geotargeting is one that takes place behind the scenes. The visitor sees the benefits and the rewards, but doesn’t actually know that you’re doing it. Geotargeting today doesn’t just look at where the visitor is, but considers where the visitor is in relation to other locations, such as a brick-and-mortar store, distribution center, or a competitor.

EBay, Amazon, and retailers like Moosejaw are increasingly using geotargeting for expedited shipping, understanding the distance between the customer and the product. Telling a customer that an item ships from a warehouse that’s only three counties away and will arrive on the same day encourages the customer to buy from you rather than getting in a car and going to a competitor’s store.

Of course, you can’t quickly ship all of your products to everyone in the world or to everyone in the country from one place. But you can make sure your website optimization solution is able to leverage the physical address of your distribution center(s), regardless of whether it’s one or five hundred. Use an actual physical address or even latitude and longitude coordinates. Then, start looking at where your customers are coming from in real time.

By approximating the IP address of the user to to a certain location, you can emphasize an expedited―or even same-day―shipping offer in real time on your website. Dynamically insert a banner or another placement that says, “Order in the next 9 minutes and 56 seconds and get [product] by the end of the business day, ” thus increasing the opportunity for conversion, bumping up average order size, and building customer loyalty―as long as you can deliver on the promise.

Geotargeting is a valuable business tactic: For your customers, the true cost of doing business with you is measured in time. You want to make the shopping experience as fast for them as possible. Amazon has done this with its one-click purchase, and now eBay is upping the ante with same-day delivery.

Offering same-day delivery is real. In fact, I think that we’ll get to a point in a couple of years where it’s necessary to remain competitive, particularly if you’re selling a commodity.

And the reality is retailers can partner with other companies to get this done. Look at Amazon. Any retailer can open its own Amazon store, ship products to Amazon’s distribution centers, and leverage the online giant’s quick shipping promises. It’s not just Amazon that ends up doing same-day shipping, but all of the independent companies that partner with it. The retailer makes out. Amazon makes out. And, most important, the customer makes out.

Same Day Delivery image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Adam Figueira is a former product marketing director at Monetate.

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