How Businesses Can Use ThinkNear to Target Customers
From Stephanie Miles:
ThinkNear is a hyperlocal platform that small businesses can use to help fill empty seats during off-peak periods. Using a special algorithm that takes foot traffic, weather and current inventory into account, ThinkNear is able to pinpoint the…
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ThinkNear is a hyperlocal platform that small businesses can use to help fill empty seats during off-peak periods. Using a special algorithm that takes foot traffic, weather and current inventory into account, ThinkNear is able to pinpoint the exact days and times when limited-time discounts and promotions will be most effective for the merchants who use its platform.
How it works: Getting access to the special deals and discounts that merchants offer through ThinkNear takes zero effort on the consumer’s behalf. Rather than requiring consumers to opt-in, which is the case with traditional daily deal companies, ThinkNear promotes its special offers by running banner ads inside a number of popular mobile apps and ad networks. These banner advertisements, along with push notifications and text messages, automatically show up when smartphone users turn on their phones within a half-mile of a participating merchant’s café or shop. Consumers who click on these ads get access to a redemption code that’s valid for a limited-time only, as well as a detailed map directing them to the merchant’s physical location.
ThinkNear in action: Restaurants, cafes, salons and other businesses in large-margin industries are well suited for ThinkNear, since they can often afford to take steep discounts off their existing prices in exchange for being able to bring in more customers during off-peak times. The platform helps merchants determine when their slow periods are by looking at historical sales data, weather reports, holidays and special events going on nearby. Based on the results of this analysis, the platform comes up with the specific dates and times when discounts would be most useful in helping to draw new customers in. In exchange for hiring ThinkNear to handle the heavy lifting throughout their limited-time promotions, merchants can expect to pay a flat fee of $99 per month.
Why it works: One of the biggest complaints that merchants have levied against traditional daily deals is that they don’t bring in customers at the right times. Customers that show up with deal vouchers when a restaurant is already at peak capacity make it more difficult for customers paying full price to get seated and served, which negates the effectiveness of these deals in the eyes of many merchants. ThinkNear has found a way to solve this problem, by offering real-time deals that only run when a business has seats to fill.
ThinkNear is an especially useful tool for merchants who are hesitant to jump on board with self-service marketing tools, either because they are unsure of how these tools work or too busy to learn. ThinkNear manages virtually all aspects of the deal and promotion process for the merchants it works with—including determining the times when deals should be run and the type of discount that a merchant should offer—eliminating the fear that many small-business owners have when it comes to understanding how to use this type of hyperlocal technology.
Maximizing the benefits: Merchants that hope to get the greatest benefit out of their ThinkNear campaigns need to give the platform time to refine the deals it offers. By tracking redemption data from all its promotions, ThinkNear is able to create deals that become more targeted and effective over time. If very few customers redeem the 20 percent-off coupon a café offers on a Tuesday afternoon, for example, then that could be a sign that the merchant may need to offer an even steeper discount to draw in customers during that particular time of day. A merchant that loses faith in the effectiveness of ThinkNear after seeing limited results during the first few promotions would be losing out on how well he or she could benefit from the program in the long term.
Read more “How It Works.”
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.