Local targeting may prove more beneficial during the holiday season than some marketers realize. Data pulled from Verve shows that Black Friday shoppers are seldom willing to travel more than 10 miles, but it really depends on the type of store and what the consumer plans to purchase. The data does not reflect the fact that it could drive sales online, but in my opinion it could. Here’s why.
An interesting example comes from a recent Verve study highlighting the 2015 Black Friday shopper experience, locations, and trends.
The behavioral data come from the collection of first-party user-location data on more than 200 million users via 3,000 publisher apps. So to better understand audiences for the 2016 holidays, the company analyzed Black Friday data from mobile devices that consistently showed frequent in-store visits to several retail chains on Friday Nov 27, 2015.
Shoppers were about 34% more likely to travel distances greater than 50 miles to visit an Ace Hardware location. Consumers were three times more likely to travel farther than 50 miles to visit an Ace Hardware than they were a Home Depot, which has nearly double the amount of locations.
The data suggests that consumers were two times more likely to travel distances greater than 50 miles to go to Sears, which has about 301 stores nationwide, than those traveling to Walmart Neighborhood Markets, which has about 359 nationwide locations.
If a brand like Ace Hardware, per Verve’s data, offers significantly fewer locations nationwide, that could result in consumers needing to travel longer distances to the location versus brands with denser coverage.
Julie Bernard, CMO at Verve, advises marketers to think about the effects of things like long lines that could have on the consumers. It can create a negative consumer experience, especially if they’re willing to drive long distances.
In my opinion, that could possibly mean building strategies that would make shoppers stand in a long line late at night or have them wake up at an unreasonable hour to get 25% off.
Having a carefully planned out local strategy, in my opinion, could mean the difference between lower and increased sales. For example, I live in a suburb of California close to shopping malls. I’m more apt to drive 10 miles or less these days. But when I move to the rural landscape of Wyoming, I will likely drive 1 to 2 hours with little thought or buy online.
Verve’s study points to company data that suggests there isn’t a strong correlation between larger urban areas and increased foot-traffic on Black Friday. Some of the most populated metropolitan areas had a lower increase in traffic than their less populated urban counterparts.
Verve data showed below-average Black Friday traffic in areas such as New York and Chicago — cities with larger populations that tend to have a consistent shopper population. Conversely, locations such as Cincinnati and St. Louis had above-average traffic.
Overall, discount stores had less traffic on Black Friday than usual. Target led for big-box retailers with about 40% more people visiting stores. Large metro areas had the smallest increase in traffic. There was below-average Black Friday traffic in areas such as New York and Chicago while locations such as Cincinnati and St. Louis had above-average traffic, per Verve.
What’s my point, per Verve’s data – location behavior could drive sales during the holidays. In my case it will drive sales online.