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Reopening America: How to Understand People’s Movement in the Post-Pandemic World




Author:Ivan Mironchuk

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This blog takes a look at how Places Services powered by Adobe Experience Platform can help companies understand and engage with your users in these extraordinary times.

Coronavirus is a pandemic that has affected our lives in a profound way. Brick-and-mortar industries that relied on in-person experiences such as retailers, restaurants, live entertainment have had to rapidly change their strategies to keep their customers safe (#stayathome) while staying afloat.

Coresight Research showed a drop of nearly 96% of all retail foot traffic in the states. Businesses have been kept alive through e-commerce with many retailers shifting to home deliveries and curbside pickup.

The good news is that lockdowns have had a positive effect in reducing the number of potential Coronavirus cases, and many parts of the world are in some phase of reopening.

But what will reopening look like? It could be some time before we have good data on consumer behavior trends. Location is the most personal context for designing and delivering personalized experiences.

Places Service, powered by Adobe Experience Platform enables customers to utilize location intelligence while maintaining privacy sensitivity for users. It can also help companies understand how users are interacting with their physical locations so they can provide ways for creating engaging and unique experiences delivered at the right time and place.

Let’s take a look at some ways Places Service can help you engage with your customers during this worldwide pandemic.

Three Steps for companies to use Places Services

1. Understanding location foot traffic

The first step is location data into Adobe Analytics to help understand store foot traffic, frequency of visits, and where users are most likely to use certain aspects of your application. If users opt-in to share their location while an app is in use, Places Service can add point of interest (POI) information onto analytics hits, providing additional context as you analyze actions and behaviors.

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2. Send messages or notifications when users visit your location

The next step is to send a real-time notification when a customer is near your location to let them know about new offers or services personalized to that customer. Places Service can be used to detect when a user has entered into a defined geo-fence around a defined point of interest. Solutions such as Adobe Campaign Standard can use this geofence entry or exit signal as a trigger to send an in-app message, local notification, or push notification.

For retailers that wish to provide a smooth curbside pickup experience, multiple concentric geofences can be defined at distance intervals. When a user drives through one of the outer geo-fences a signal can be sent to the customer’s internal system to alert store personnel that a user is en-route to pick up their order.

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3. Personalize and optimize app experiences

Places Service can help customize and personalize an in-store or location-based experience for your mobile users with helpful information such as store layout, featured products, and sales. Adobe Target provides ways for customers to control and personalize a user’s experience based on multiple criteria. Adobe Experience Platform Mobile SDK can attach Places information onto any outgoing Target Request and audience segments can be created to match a specific point of interest (POI) or a range of POIs. Using Target with Places Service, customers can create entirely different app experiences or offers for users that are in a defined location.

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How does Places Service work?

All Adobe Experience Cloud customers have access to Places Service (see gaining access to Places Service). Customers start by creating any number of POIs in the Places Service interface. POI management database can have up to 150 thousand POIs defined in a single library and multiple libraries can be created to hold different categories of POIs. Each POI defined can also include helpful metadata about the location i.e. has drive-thru service, large parking area, and mobile payments accepted.

Figure 1: Places Service POI Management InterfaceFigure 1: Places Service POI Management Interface

The next step is to add the Places, and optionally, the Places Monitor extensions to your application. Customers can install these extensions as part of their mobile property in Adobe Experience Platform Launch.

Once the extensions have been integrated into your application build, follow steps in our documentation guides for integrating Places Service with other Adobe Solutions.

At no time, is a user’s individual location information shared or stored. Places Service operates on a user coming into contact with a customer-defined POI. From an end user's perspective, a user must first opt-in to allow for location tracking either when the app is in use or always. If the user opts-in to only allow location sharing when the app is in use, the user’s location will be checked against the Places POI database when the app is launched or brought into the foreground.

Figure 2: Understanding how Places Service mobile extensions workFigure 2: Understanding how Places Service mobile extensions work

If the user is inside a customer-defined POI the Places extension will return back an entry event for the matching POI. If the Places Monitor is being used and a user has given permission to always allow location sharing, the Places Monitor will check against the Places POI database on any significant location change. If the user is nearby any defined POIs the closest POIs will be cached and actively monitored for entries or exits.

Figure 3: Understanding how Places Service can be used in conjunction with workflow rulesFigure 3: Understanding how Places Service can be used in conjunction with workflow rules

Workflow rules can be defined in Adobe Experience Platform Launch (see: use Places Service as part of Adobe Experience Platform Launch workflow) to take action on-location events for integration with other solutions.

To learn more about Places Service see our getting started documentation here: https://docs.adobe.com/content/help/en/places/using/home.html.

Follow the Adobe Experience Platform Community Blog for more developer stories and resources, and check out Adobe Developers on Twitter for the latest news and developer products. Sign up here for future Adobe Experience Platform Meetups.


  1. Places Service Overview
  2. Adobe Experience Platform
  3. Adobe Experience Platform Launch
  4. Charting foot traffic trends by industry
  5. Places Service APIs
  6. Adding Places Service extensions to your mobile app
  7. Using Places Service with Adobe Experience Cloud solutions
  8. Adobe Analytics
  9. Adobe Target
  10. Adobe Campaign Standard

Originally published: Sep 3, 2020