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WiFi Analytics: Digital Learnings for Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Managed Services

One trend we are seeing among our retail customers is to take best practices from the online world and translate them into the store environment.

For example, as a matter of course, cyber retailers identify their online visitors, track their specific behaviors while shopping, and use those behaviors to recommend products and services. This focus on individual behavior then forms the basis for data aggregation to discern patterns and trends that can be extrapolated to other, similar shoppers, perpetually refining the customer experience. The same methodology can be applied in a brick-and-mortar environment by using WiFi analytics as part of a managed networking solution.

WiFi analytics, also called location analytics, is an unobtrusive way to observe an in-store customer digitally because the network senses each visitor’s cell phone as they move though the store. (Related: Need a network that will always be up and ensure excellent application performance? See why SD-WAN is the solution.) We call this “Guest Presence” and consider it akin to an anonymous shopper on a web site. The shopper’s personal details aren’t revealed, but by applying a unique identifier to that visitor and their phone, the retailer can gather significant information about that customer, and aggregate data about all customers. Some critical data points available from the Guest Presence analytics include store customer count for each and every day and day-part, customer time in store, and volume of returning customers versus new customers.

The analogy can go one step further when the in-store customer, like an online shopper, chooses to identify themselves to the retailer. Online, this is done by signing-in. In store, it can be done when a customer uses your enterprise WiFi solution and connects to guest Wi-Fi. We call this feature “Guest Insights.” Guest Insights are set to trigger based upon how access to the guest WiFi is granted -- often through a store’s mobile application or social media accounts. Using this capability, retailers can access customer information like name, e-mail or phone number, gender, age, store loyalty information, and other demographics.

Perhaps most useful of all, as customers use the guest Wi-Fi, WiFi analytics make it possible to identify which competitor sites they may visit. This level of competitive data aggregation lets savvy retailers track competitor price comparisons or social media platform preferences among shoppers presenting opportunities for intelligent advertising and promotional marketing to those very same customers.