6 Geofencing Tools for Small Businesses

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More than half of consumers with smartphone devices said they would trade their location privacy for discounts in a recent Street Fight poll. Meanwhile, retail experts are continuing to tout geofencing — which involves sending text or push notifications to consumers who enter virtual perimeters set around physical places — as the answer to showrooming for local retailers trying to compete with online behemoths.

Unfortunately, terms like “geofencing” and “push notifications” can sound intimidating, leading some small business owners to wrongly assume that these are marketing tactics that only major brands and national retailers can deploy. To adjust this perception, a number of mobile advertising platforms have recently stepped up with geofencing tools aimed directly at small business owners. Here are six tools that businesses of all sizes can use to reach out to consumers at targeted locations.

1. Moasis
Moasis is a hyperlocal advertising platform that small businesses can use to communicate with mobile users who enter pre-defined geographic areas. Businesses can target consumers in a certain neighborhood, city, or even in the street blocks near their stores. Business owners bid for ad space just like they might with Google AdWords, making it easy for advertisers to stick to their campaign budgets. Moasis ad rates typically run at $40 CPMs.

2. AdLeads
Business owners who don’t have much time to set up their mobile campaigns can use AdLeads to start acquiring new customers in “less than 15 minutes.” Retailers choose the neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries where they want their mobile ads to appear and use the ad builder tool to create their own ads in minutes. AdLeads funnels those ads to top mobile apps in the music, entertainment, utility, education, and gaming categories, and businesses pay only when consumers elect to hear more about their deals and promotions. Pricing varies depending on the criteria an advertiser chooses, however most merchants pay between 50 cents and $2 for each customer who signs up to receive their email offers.

3. Placecast
Retailers looking for a sophisticated way to reach consumers using their phones at specific locations can turn to Placecast’s ShopAlerts platform for help. Businesses that enter their store locations, current promotions, and marketing calendars into the ShopAlerts platform can send limited-time offers to customers’ phones via SMS, MMS, or push notifications. ShopAlerts consultants are also available to help business owners handle the strategy, development, and optimization of their campaigns. Placecast charges businesses a setup fee, plus variable fees based on the number of users and offers being sent out.

4. Shopkick
Although Shopkick is known for partnering with major retailers like American Eagle and Sports Authority, the mobile marketing platform also offers an option for local businesses looking to take advantage of geotargeted marketing. Cafes, bakeries, small restaurants, and local retailers can use Shopkick’s “Signal” technology to reward customers just for entering their establishments. They can also send targeted offers to consumers shopping at neighboring retailers, as a way to lure them next door. Shopkick charges local merchants less than $100 for its tracking hardware, along with a commission fee based on the number of points that customers earn.

5. Yowza
Small businesses that are tired of sending coupons to everyone in town can use Yowza to target the promotional deals they distribute based on their customers’ geographic locations. Shoppers who download the Yowza mobile app receive push notifications from participating businesses when they’re in the nearby vicinity. They can also mark certain businesses as “favorites” to find out immediately when those businesses publish new coupons, regardless of their location. Retailers that sign up for a free 90-day trial with Yowza can publish one coupon per month for free. Yowza’s typical rate is $99 per month.

6. ValuText
Launched by DDR Corp. in 2011, ValuText gives businesses at selected shopping centers a way to send customized deals to customers based on their real-time locations. Consumers sign up by giving businesses their phone numbers, email addresses, and deal preferences, and in return they can receive up to three offers from ValuText each month. These offers are only pushed out when the customer is at or near the retailer sending those offers. The ValuText platform is free for retail tenants at participating malls and shopping centers throughout the U.S.

Know of other reporting tools that small businesses can use to send geofenced offers and ads? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.