Metamend Geographic Information System Extraction Technology:
The "GeoMend" Tagging System
The Internet continues to be an invaluable arena for companies to disseminate information regarding their products, store locations and launch their on-line eCommerce initiatives. This media also presents many challenges in regards to customer service and order fulfillment.
Research shows that in 2001, 48.2 percent of Americans made a purchase on-line.1 However, 61 percent of adult Internet users revealed they were "not very comfortable" or "not at all comfortable" making purchases online.2
According to an eMarketer study, sending Email or text messaging was the single most popular online activity at 92%, researching products was second at 75%, and actual product purchasing was a distant 8th. The study also showed that despite the gap, many of these researchers do eventually purchase the products on-line or at a real-world location.
It is estimated that by 2004, two trillion dollars in revenue will be generated per year through eCommerce.4 To be able to meet this demand, or more precisely, to gain a share of this market, companies will need to innovate and combine their offline and online marketing and customer service activities and efforts. No longer can the two operate as separate entities, but must exist within a symbiotic and synergistic relationship with each other.
Quality offline virtual experiences are imperative for building good customer relationships and loyalty. According to Jupiter Research's Media Matrix: "Considering that 70 percent5 of U.S. shoppers plan to spend less money at a retailer's off-line store because they were dissatisfied with their on-line shopping experience, the Web experience is absolutely key to off-line business performance. Links from the Internet to brick and mortar locations are important as Consumers are increasingly relying upon on-line information sources to drive their off-line purchases."3
While many people perform their product research online, statistics indicate that a large percentage of final purchases are still conducted at physical "bricks and mortar" locations. Online searching may allow easy 24 hours access to research and product information with the ability to research from a locale of one's choosing, and the ability to compare many products simultaneously, however… Offline purchasing offers the ability to visually examine the object to scale, to inspect the product for defects, to touch, feel and size up the item's various tactile attributes. It also provides for instant gratification with the ability to possess the selected item once the purchase decision has been made.
From a sales perspective, it is becoming increasingly imperative to direct potential customers who do not wish to transact online to the nearest bricks and mortar location where the purchase may be made.
"Despite the pervasiveness of Internet business, most processes are real and physical. While some purchasing is done online, most products and services are delivered to someone at a physical location."
The ability to produce and install a set of Geographic Information Services (GIS) or Latitude and Longitude address coordinates within the source code of a merchants' web page via a meta tag, (the GeoMend tag) provides the data bridge necessary between the location of the online searcher/prospect, (the start coordinates), and the nearest physical location where order fulfillment and transaction may take place. (the end coordinates).
Within an increasingly competitive business environment, any competitive advantage that can effectively direct customers to merchants will be readily accepted.
Metamend's GIS tagging technology provides an excellent value proposition within previously developed, and perhaps more importantly, future sales channels. This technology makes it easier for potential customers to find a merchant's location, based upon two important considerations; the customer's own search parameters, and physical location of both the customer, and the merchant. It is a value-added service, which makes complete marketing sense.
Until now, there has been no technological means available which can select and transmit relevant address data from a website. The GeoMend tag is the first standardized tool which allows mobile users to receive geographically relevant website information, and enables proximity based search results.
Metamend has developed a technology that correctly extracts physical address information from any web page, and provides an identifiable address marker for interfacing with geo-locational software, providing wireless device users and search engines with accurate locational information.
Such a technology not only makes the purchasing action more convenient, but also helps assure the client of easy access to after sales support and customer service from the merchant's physical location. The potential market for this technology is immense.
"Customer needs are satisfied and commerce is advanced when a company makes it easier for people to make purchases and access customer service."
- Ronald M. Brien 3
The GIS GeoMend© address extraction technology was developed by Metamend Software and Design Ltd., of Victoria, BC, Canada
Metamend's goal was to create an intelligent search tool that would be able to extract the relevant address block from a website, decompose it into the individual address components (i.e. street, avenue, province, country, etc.) then produce and code the "GeoMended" coordinates directly into the website, for access by the Internet's top search engines.
The technology is capable of analyzing a web document, a collection of documents or an entire website and extracting all physical address-related information while producing a list of possible relevant addresses. Moreover it has the ability to "decide" which of the addresses returned is the most relevant, based on the contextual content of the website from which it was extracted.
Metamend's proven keyword extraction technology provides the relevant subject data for the "decision" process. Metamend's proprietary tagging system will be utilized to automatically insert and code the generated GIS data into a web page's source code for use by geo-locational search interfaces and Internet search engines , indices, and searchable databases and directories.
For the Internet to be truly valuable to the wireless device user, it must be able to deliver relevant results to a search query quickly. Being mobile, these users will also want to receive the most relevant results sorted based on proximity to their location at the moment of search.
The process is quite lucid. The technology already exists to generate location-based information for wireless devices such as cellular telephones, Internet-enabled mobile laptops and PDA's. It is possible for the chips embedded within these devices to "geo-locate" the device and its user. The advent of Mobile computing technology allows these wireless devices to connect to the Internet. Therefore, it is perfectly logical to assume that wireless device users will use their computing devices to research items online.
The technology is designed in a fully modular fashion, allowing for single parts and/or components to be delivered independently of other features and functions. The architecture has been designed with an eye to maximizing scalability and platform independence.
The technology is delivered via Metamend's existing web-based service infrastructure, as part of the firm's world leading SEO service. The address extraction software is hosted on a Metamend server and all service to and from it will be web-based, making the technology accessible to users from any web browser, regardless of operating system.
Examples of Potential GeoMend Uses
Our two examples below demonstrate cases where potential customers research products or services online, with the intent of purchasing offline. The examples illustrate how the GeoMend procedure assists with the all-important purchase decision-making process.
John, a company salesperson, arrives in a new town when his car experiences a flat tire. John is apprehensive, as he is not familiar with the surrounding area; it is imperative that he is able to quickly locate the nearest tire service center. He takes out his web enabled cellular phone and performs an online search query of "Michelin Tires." He has no desire to buy online, but simply needs to locate a nearby purveyor of tires. The search results display results 1-10 of approximately 63,100 related web pages.6 The search parameters are too general at best. John hits the new "location-based search" feature button and promptly gets presented with new search results, sorted by proximity to his exact location.4 One Michelin outlet is less than two blocks away: Guess which outlet gets John's business? The tire shop had its website optimized and coded with GeoMend technology, thus enabling it to be found both by relevance proximity within the search results.
You are vacationing in a new city for the first time. Once you get settled into your hotel room you take out your handheld wireless device, log onto the web and search for "Italian Food in San Francisco." By default your wireless device has location based searching enabled. This has been enabled because you run frequent searches from the device, and overwhelming are looking for local results. i.e. your shoelace broke, where's a cobbler, etc. In this scenario, only the Italian restaurants that had their websites coded with GeoMend, geo-locational data show within the search results; as always, relevant to your exact location. You download a map, which shows your present location, and the location of your selected destination, and head out to dinner.
GeoMend tagging alone will not drive consumers to retailers. The retailers' web site will also need search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure proper indexing and relevant placement within search results, plus the ability to be found through the use relevant keywords and phrases. Proper SEO will help consumers find the desired products/company quickly and easily after performing a broad category search. GeoMending will greatly narrow the hunt and help direct them to the nearest physical location. Hence, any firm with regional offices, multiple retail outlets, channel or distribution partners and/or service centers can benefit greatly from GeoMending their websites. GeoMending of a website will also provide a competitive edge to any businesses interested in attracting new customers. The Internet is an excellent eCommerce tool for building long-term customer relationships. It has the ability to interact anytime, anywhere, to collect individual needs and preferences, and to deliver customized marketing solutions, and targeted advertising. Tools designed to relay proximity information and physical locations of retail outlets to potential customers build upon these processes by aiding them to efficiently reach their desired geographical destination and perhaps more to the point, simplify to the decision-making process.
For Further Information
Website: Metamend Software & Design Ltd.
Toll Free: 1.866.381.6382
Copyright © 2003 Metamend Software & Design Ltd. All rights reserved.
No unauthorized reprinting or distribution without express written consent from the authors.
Geomend White Paper
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