For years, managers at Acton Toyota of Littleton (Mass.) believed they were missing opportunities to sell autos to nearby residents of New Hampshire.
Why? Because folks in New Hampshire were unaware that they were exempt from Massachusetts' sales taxes on autos.
Every month, the store would get brisk Web traffic from New Hampshire. But those shoppers weren't making appointments or driving the 20 minutes south of the state line to buy a vehicle, said Justin Brun, Acton Toyota director of marketing and e-commerce.
The solution? An Internet tool called geofencing. The tool lets online marketers identity shoppers' locations, using the global positioning system or radio frequency identification, and tailor texts and emails accordingly.
For example, after Brun signed up in November with geofencing software company Cloud Engage he drew a virtual fence around the whole state of New Hampshire.
That done, every time a New Hampshire resident visits Acton Toyota's website to shop, the software tracks the visitor's location and sends him or her a special message designed by the store.
The message says that New Hampshire residents don't have to pay Massachusetts' 6.25 percent sales tax and they are eligible for other perks, Brun said. The sales tax exemption is especially meaningful to New Hampshire residents because they don't have one.
The Massachusetts tax is $1,875 on a $30,000 vehicle.
"It allows you in a targeted way to throw out a little bit of bait to maybe attract [people] outside their comfort zone," Brun said.