A geofence is a virtual perimeter that you can draw around a location, such as your dealership’s sales lot. A geofence uses the GPS satellite network or local radio-frequency identifiers, such as Wi-Fi nodes or Bluetooth beacons positioned onsite, to create the virtual boundary. You can set your geofence to be as big as an entire city or as small as a flagpole.
A hardware or software application is needed to create the geofence and create a game plan for the actions you’d like taken when someone or something enters or exits the virtual perimeter. For example, a rancher could get a text alert if his cattle strayed too far, a construction company can “clock in” workers when they enter a construction jobsite each morning, and a retailer can alert customers walking nearby of a sale.
Auto dealerships have a plethora of potential applications using geofences:
- Secure Your Fleet – You obviously have a lot of assets sitting on your lot, a geofence can signal to your security company that one of them left the lot when you’re closed. The GPS signal can also help you recover a stolen vehicle. You can also set up a second geofence on your overflow lot to know if a vehicle is on your main lot or your overflow lot.
- Track Your Courtesy Vehicle – You can be alerted each time your courtesy vehicles enter or leave your lot to provide more timely service to customers. You can also create geofences across multiple dealerships to know exactly where your courtesy vehicle is located.
- Track Employee Time – Just like the construction example above, you can automatically track your employees when they’re onsite. This data allows managers to monitor arrivals and departures, making timesheets easier and more accurate.
- Tradeshow Marketing – You can ping participants in the convention center with a real-time text message to come by your booth.
- Hyperlocal Advertising – A creative auto dealership can create geofences around their competitors and send their customers an ad when they drive onto a competitor’s lot. (The customer must opt-in to receive your marketing messages.)
- Retargeting – Once potential customers leave the geofence at your dealership, you have only a few ways to contact them. You can send them messages weeks after they leave your dealership.
- Big Ticket Sales – Your geofence doesn’t have to be around your entire sales lot, you can dial it into just your luxury vehicles. You could create separate marketing messages for these customers or send alerts to your sales manager to dispatch the right sales team member.
Let me note that the marketing suggestions may take your customers back because it is a bit “Big Brother” to many people, but how you will use the technology is for you to decide. Internally, geofencing can be a powerful money saver and work in conjunction with numerous other applications, such as your security system or time and attendance platform.