In the zone
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Using geocoding technology can help bring customers to businesses by simplifying and speeding up the use of maps on websites.
Geocoding is a technology that translates an address or postcode into geographical coordinates. It is being used by businesses which have maps on their websites to give customers quicker access to details of local services.
Ian Griffiths is CEO of Whocanfixmycar, which allows customers in need of car servicing to post a job request to the website with their current location, and returns a selection of the nearest garages that can do the job. An automated email is then sent to the prospect detailing the options available.
Says Griffiths, ‘It’s easy to install a map on a website but to pinpoint two places and work out the distance between the two requires more thought. Geocoding gives you that.’
Griffiths, who also employs the tool on his other website Make and Model, says the installation process is roughly a day’s work for a developer and cost him around £200. To run the technology, he pays around 1p every time a user looks up postcodes, amounting to around £200 a quarter for some 20,000 inquiries.
He adds, ‘It’ll benefit any web company looking to use maps and link together multiple points within a map. It’s enabled us to pick out the most local mechanics to any particular job and so we’re sending the alert to the most relevant people.’
Mapping the market
Tanning company St Tropez has been using geocoding for three years to help its online customers locate their nearest salon or spa.
Jennifer Needham, digital executive for parent company PZ Cussons Beauty says, ‘Customers simply enter their postcode to generate a list from the 3,000 suppliers and find a location closest to them. It is especially helpful for visitors or people who are new to the area, so adding it to our website can help us to reach out to new customers.’
Needham adds that the technology has also saved the company time that would have been spent filtering through customer enquiries. The number of emails and calls from people asking for the location of their nearest salon has been greatly reduced.
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