With advancements in technology driving a 'need-it-now' mindset in consumers, the demand for applications which can deliver ease and speed of consumption through insights from location-based data - for both products and services - continues to grow.

We have seen the likes of Netflix overthrow Blockbuster’s bricks and mortar business, Uber provide a passenger-friendly alternative to taxis, and Menulog offer a restaurant-independent, on-demand meal delivery service – all of which are accessible from anywhere, at any time, via our phone.

While the delivery mechanisms for this new style of products and services can vary significantly, one of the common threads among the companies disrupting their respective industries is data.

Today’s informed consumers are no longer just looking for the cheapest price. They want to know how quickly they can obtain their product, as well as reviews and information about the company’s reputation. These three factors play a huge role in terms of customer loyalty and engagement with brands, and, they’re applicable to everything from fast food, apparel, furniture and even professional services such as pool cleaning.

We all want the best deal, but we also want products and services to be easily accessible.

In my experience of working with leading brands in the retail and services sector, it’s clear that spatial data has become integral for helping organisations meet these customer expectations. For example, used correctly, spatial data can help brands identify the best location for a store front based on reach, foot traffic, available location, local demographics and even risk analysis. While this concept is not new, the way in which this data can be collated, analysed and used, has evolved significantly in recent years.

One example is a pool maintenance firm looking to expand its reach and customer portfolio. Previously, this type of firm may have relied on traditional scattergun marketing techniques such as a letter drop, to promote its services to the local community – but this approach can be pretty hit-and-miss.

Using geospatial datasets such as Geoscape, the pool maintenance firm can obtain location data for all the swimming pool and vegetation data recorded across Australia, and captured by high-resolution aerial imagery. This allows for more targeted communications – in this case, to local homeowners with pools – providing a more compelling message and a greater likelihood of sales conversions.

When combined with a route optimisation application, the firm could create an optimised work schedule, ensuring its employees are allocated efficiently for maintenance jobs. It also removes the risk of drivers guessing routes, and more importantly, can avoid the possibility of heavy vehicles driving down the wrong road.

We have seen similar approaches with site location for restaurants and fast food chains, thanks to on-demand delivery services.

For example, instead of a Thai restaurant just drawing a 2-3 kilometre radius around its restaurant and considering that zone as its delivery arc, it can use route optimisation tools to assist in making decisions around delivery efficiency. Using highly optimised road networks, this business could identify the ultimate zone within which its vehicles could actually deliver to, based on trip times – as well as incorporating historical traffic data to identify which times are the busiest, so the drivers can look at alternate routes to beat the rush.

As you can see, as consumer expectations continue to evolve, so will the need for location services. We are now seeing human movement data drawn from locational services being used to understand customer behaviour, providing an additional layer to customer profiling, to truly obtain a 360 view of consumer habits. This has powerful implications for outdoor marketing.

While I could cover many more examples, the key point I would like to leave you with is that data – and how organisations analyse and make decisions based on it – will provide even more of a critical competitive advantage in coming years. Without harnessing the power of data, and using the software and services that help to make sense of it all, businesses risk relying on ‘trial and error’ and ‘guesstimates’ to make critical decisions. This can prove to be both expensive, and truly costly in terms of a business survival.

To learn more about how MapData Services can help you leverage spatial data for growth stability and innovation, call us on 1800 870 750 or send us an email.