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6 ways to increase conversions with Geo-targeting

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 27 Oct, 2015
Essential Essential topic

When used effectively, Personalisation based on Geo-targeting can be a powerful way to increase your conversion rate

People arrive at your website from a variety of different locations. This means they will have different nationalities, languages, currencies, climates and even cultural expectations. Geographic targeting allows a website to render content that is personalized to the location of the visitor. In other words, it determines the exact locality of your visitor, and then dynamically tailors the content on your website to be more meaningful to that shopper. The benefits of this are immense.

Below are just a few examples of how geo-targeting can improve the visitor experience for your Ecommerce site.

1. Display Products Relevant to the Local Climate and Culture

Altering the type of products displayed depending on where the customer is from is a technique widely used by many online retailers.

For example, take a clothing store that delivers to customers in the USA. Because the country spans so widely, it can experience two types of climates at once. The North may be cold while the South is hot. In that case, you may want to display sweaters for northerners while showing beachwear for southerners. Or perhaps it is raining on the East coast so you decide to show umbrellas to visitors from that region.

Meanwhile, a sports store chain might want to highlight products with the home team's emblem. Weather and physical location can be great cues to drive more relevant promotions right from the beginning of a visit.

Petzl, a USA-based home and garden retailer, created a geo-targeting rule that promotes products according to the visitor’s regional environment. In the example below, you can see that visitors from the Colorado area are presented with a product which prevents a northern type of insect infestation while visitors from Florida are presented with a southern one.

2. Define Promotions Geographically

You can also offer special promotions segmented by region. For example, offer back to school specials in September for North American and European visitors and in January for those from Australia.

Back to school

Below is an example of a promotion limited to Ottawa area residents.

 3. Display Weather Related Promotions

Local weather can often drives sales of certain products. eRetailers can take advantage of this trend by offering special weather-related promotions. Below are some examples.

Pantene geo-targets ads for its shampoos and conditioners to fit the type of weather and resulting hair conditions. If the reader shows interest, it helps them find a store nearby that sells the product.

weather promotions

Money transfers often spike following natural disasters. After the flooding in Manila last year, Western Union offered US residents a no-fee coupon for transfers to the Philippines.

Western Union

Before hurricanes, affected residents usually stock up on emergency supplies such as batteries and flashlights – so these products can be highlighted in these areas. But you don’t need to wait for extreme weather to take advantage of the meteorological conditions. It can be as simple promoting umbrellas on a rainy day.

American Apparel  Be careful not to use disaster-related ads insensitively. American Apparel generated an overwhelmingly negative reaction on the Twittersphere when it geo-targeted a clothing sale at people affected by Hurricane Sandy

4. Provide Localized Shipping Offers 

Shipping costs are a key factor in determining whether a customer converts. The location of your distribution centers may greatly affect shipping times and rates. Use geo-targeting to display shipping offers customized to the location of the visitor.

Example: Customized Free Shipping Offers

Here is a personalized free shipping offer – one is for visitors from Maine and another for visitors from Philadelphia. They are be triggered specifically for people from those areas.

Free delivery

This ad encourages Canadians to buy over the border in the USA by offering free shipping.

Free shipping to Canada

Localized Deadline Guarantees

You can also guarantee delivery by a specific date, depending on region. This is especially important for holiday shoppers. Below is an example of a delivery guarantee by Christmas, customized by area. For South Australia residents – if they order before Dec. 17th. For Sydney residents – if they order by Dec. 22.

christmas delivery
5. Show Only Applicable Taxes

Tax rates vary by area or may even not apply. Altering tax rates can be a major factor in driving international sales or even between states and provinces. You only have seconds to convince a visitor to make a purchase. If a visitor to your site is entitled to purchase the product tax free – let them know about it.

Tax free 6. Display the Closest Physical Stores

Does your retail business have physical locations? Instead of making your visitors search a long list for stores in their area, automatically display the contact details of the stores closest to them.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 16.54.52 Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 16.55.01

Does It Work?

When an Australian ecommerce site started shipping to New Zealand, visitors from that country were shown the banner below. In general, it's difficult to measure the direct effects of personalization. The only way to do it effectively is via A/B testing of the personalization rule. Here testing revealed that visitors from New Zealand who saw the banner converted at 5%, whereas visitors that didn't converted at 1%.

Shipping to New Zealand


By personalizing your site's content to suit your visitor's location, climate and culture you can significantly increase conversions. Ways to do this include: displaying products relevant to the local climate, defining promotions geographically, offering weather related deals, proving localized shipping offers, showing only applicable taxes and automatically displaying details of the closest physical stores. Try some of these ideas on your own site and you are certain to benefit.

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By Expert commentator

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