Pay attention chain store operators: Postal mailing goes digital

Chain store operators are usually very knowledgeable about the catchment areas around their locations, distribution plans have been developed and proven over decades. However, the good old brochure – established, experienced and still effective – no longer receives as much attention as it used to. Mr and Mrs Consumer prefer to look at their screens and not at brochures: The average Internet usage time per day in 2018 was 3 hours and 16 minutes in Germany, and this usage time is increasingly rapidly.*

*Source: ARD/ZDF online survey

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to address these potential customers online via Facebook, Amazon, GMX and various other channels in the catchment areas that can be simply booked and reached by mail shot?

This is precisely the innovative product developed by AZ Direct, part of the Bertelsmann Printing Group. WIGeoGIS provides the necessary geomarketing solutions for this product.

Expanding regional media planning online

Regional media planning is one of the classic applications in geomarketing in addition to location analysis: With WebGIS (or other GIS systems), you can locate those households located within e.g. a range of 20 minutes by car or 5 minutes on foot from your location. To reduce scatter loss, you can merge this geographic selection with sociodemographic attributes: Just select the buildings or households in which your target group lives, e.g. affluent males that live in detached houses with gardens.

So far, so good. You need good market data for your analysis, AZ Direct is a reliable partner for this purpose: Anonymized characteristic data with up to 600 characteristics for over 41 million households, 70 million people and 21 million buildings are available for Germany with the audience targeting system AZ DIAS.

The direct marketing specialist offers multi-channel marketing across numerous offline and online channels with this unique range of data for Germany*. 68 million people can thus be addressed by post, via e-mail or via digital advertising (display/mobile/video/social advertising) on their computers or smartphones.

*Data also available for Austria and Switzerland

Geoselection combined with online channels is the innovation here: In the campaign, the affluent male garden owner living up to 20 minutes away from the chain store will see, instead of or in addition to the brochure in his postbox, an advertising newsletter from GMX or, a display ad on the website of a large daily newspaper and/or advertising when surfing on Facebook, buying on Amazon or watching an online video.

Target group analysis in the catchment area – a lot of potential can be achieved via online marketing.

Target group selection in catchment area: Geoselection combined with characteristics finds areas with a high proportion of gardens (green areas). 8057 male detached house owners with gardens can be reached via various online channels.

Online branch activation: Flexible, economic, measurable, interactive

“What we are doing is as yet unique in the German market”, said Marco Kersch, Head of Product Management & Operations at AZ Direct, with some pride. Previous methods of online marketing work with so-called IP-geotargeting, i.e. attempting to localize the customer via their Internet provider. This leads to scatter loss as the customer may not even be anywhere near where the Internet provider says he is.

“Scatter loss is near zero with our online branch activation and we reach the people where they actually are, i.e. on the Internet”, said Kersch. “Classic mail shots are effective, but expensive and also inflexible because once in print you can no longer change anything and yet product lines are often very short-lived. It also makes sense to test two variants and then to carry on with the one that functions best – this is far too time-consuming for printed matter.” 

But this is easy to do within the framework of online branch automation, as AZ Direct online advertising media is fully customizable. Display advertising for 200 branches can be set up with very little outlay in 200 different versions: Where necessary, branch photos, products, prices, etc. are automated and can therefore be economically customized for each branch.

Online branch activation is the logical, modern supplement to an existing product, as Kersch explained: “Media or scatter planning functions as usual, however, the customer in the catchment area no longer receives advertising in his postbox but on his smart phone, tablet or PC.”

What about data protection legislation?

This question is often put to Peter Kothe, Head of Sales Data & Analytics at AZ Direct. His reply is relaxed: “We had already developed our Data SecureTTP method back in 2010, long before GDPR. This software we developed separates addresses from sensitive data so that the data would not be useful even in the case of unauthorized access. Our clients can be sure that their advertising is compliant with data privacy.”

A complex system of anonymization and encryption makes this possible. TÜV Rheinland acts here as a “Trusted Third Party” (TTP), providing marketing process monitoring and data privacy compliancy control.

An example

This is a possible scenario:

Geoselection has located 8057 male garden owners within a 20-minute radius around your branch store. 

During your campaign, your advertising will reach:

2800 persons
on Facebook
2300 persons
on Amazon
620 persons
on YouTube
4770 persons
via GMX/
700 persons
on Snapchat

Who exactly these people are is unknown, but they are all male garden owners who live near your branch store.

For chain store operators: Regional offline and online media planning with WIGeoGIS WebGIS

Online channels in the catchment area

Combination of multiple online channels

Experience shows that 70- 85% of the target group in the catchment area can be reached online through a combination of multiple online channels – this corresponds approximately to the coverage for classic postal mailing. It is course possible to combine online and offline channels to increase coverage and advertising impact.

Exploit synergies: Your WebGIS can do more!

“Many of our customers have been using geomarketing software for their location analyses for many years now. Get more out of your WebGIS and use it for media planning as well! With our innovative online branch activation, you can now steer local campaigns across topical channels. We are delighted to be able to offer this innovation in cooperation with AZ Direct.”

Wolf Graf, Managing Director, WIGeoGIS

How a campaign is set up

An overview of the typical work packages. AZ Direct will provide advice during all stages and can also implement them for you or you simply purchase the services that you require.

Target group determination – Geoselection

Target group determination and selection is implemented in the same way as purely offline media planning

If AZ Direct takes over target group determination and counting of potentials, this will be implemented using WIGeoGIS tools.

If you already have geomarketing software in use, such as WIGeoWeb, then you will be familiar with working with catchment areas and you can carry out target group determination and potential counting in those catchment areas yourselves.

Campaign planning
This defines the channels to be used (according to range potentials and campaign goals), frequency and duration of the campaign, etc.
Creation of chain store-specific advertising media, setting up and implementing the campaign in the selected channels
AZ Direct will have a Trading Desk available to you for all operative steps. Your campaign will be managed by experienced online marketers.
Ongoing monitoring & fine tuning, reporting
The AZ Direct Trading Desk will take over continuous monitoring and control of your campaign so that campaign goals can be effectively reached, and will also provide final reporting.

Two strong partners – One innovative product

“We have the target group data and online coverage, WIGeoGIS has the necessary geomarketing tools. Together, we create a unique product with which chain store operators can reach their customers where they are usually most active: on the Internet.”

Marco Kersch, Head of Product Management & Operations at AZ Direct

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* The products of WIGeoGIS are intended for companies and are not suitable for private use. If you need a one-time market analysis, we will gladly make you a service offer.
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