Blog · 07 Apr 2022

More than connectivity: how wi-fi can transform stores into intelligent spaces

With the help of instore wi-fi, retailers can capture valuable information about their customers for a range of transformative benefits.

Dean Cookson
Marketing Director, Purple

An eCommerce business is unworkable if you don’t know who your customers are, how often they visit, or how much they spend.

And yet this is still so often the case for physical stores. For many organisations, it’s still a huge blind spot in their estate. But all the data is there, they just need to know how to capture it.

These days, many consumers expect fast, secure and free-to-use wi-fi as part of their shopping experience with 84% believing retailers should be doing more to integrate their online and offline channels. By optimising your wi-fi, you can integrate these two platforms by allowing customers the ability to connect instore with the same log-in as they use online. It’s the key to transforming your store into an intelligent space, which captures data from each users’ device to drive better decision making.

So, how can retailers start to use instore wi-fi to gather essential insights from the shop floor?

Provide guest wi-fi instore

In order to match each device with a customer profile, stores can provide a unique log-in portal or branded mobile app which authenticates user identity every time they wish to connect. This means that if a device is anonymised, such as through MAC randomisation, they’re able to voluntarily disclose the information. Then, using a single, self-service portal, they can manage their personal data, and, at your end, you can include branded splash pages with promotional offers or information when they connect. We’ve even seen some stores incentivise their customers to sign-up by offering an introductory offer or discount.

Unlock rich wi-fi analytics

Each time your customers return, you’ll learn more about who they are and their shopping habits, and build up a rich profile for every individual connected to the wi-fi. Similar to website analytics, this data can then be gathered into a dashboard and automatically segmented to understand your key demographics. The more you understand your customers, the more you’ll also be able to tailor your communications to suit each individual.

Take marketing action

Today’s consumers value personalised experiences, with 70% of millennials claiming they’re frustrated with brands sending irrelevant emails. It’s also proven that relevant, real-time communications improve retention by up to 24%. To really make the most of the data you’ve gathered, marketing automation tools can send out targeted messages to customers based on either their demographic or instore behaviour, and further refine your strategy. For example, frequent visitors might be redirected to a valued customer page, whereas new customers might receive a welcome message.

Unlocking fresh horizons for retailers

Creating more intelligent spaces with instore wi-fi opens up a wide range of possibilities for retailers. From concrete cost benefits through to deepening insights and enhancing the customer experience, there’s a compelling case to explore. Here’s what a retailer can expect:

  • Maximised investment and increased revenue
    Once instore wi-fi is installed, retailers have the opportunity to earn money back by selling advertising space within the customer access journey, whether that’s for splash pages or promotional videos. One of our customers also made a considerable saving by incorporating a survey function directly into their journey, rather than spending the money on marketing elsewhere.
  • Increased customer return rate
    Our research, based on capturing 16bn pieces of anonymous end user data from over 50,000 venues, shows that if a customer is able to use an outlet’s wi-fi, they return more and spend more, which can lead to up to 9% in additional revenue.
  • The ability to measure customer dwell time
    Real time customer analysis offers the potential to understand the efficiency of each store by following how customers move and behave inside them. Comparing the time consumers spend in different locations can even identify where inefficiencies are and inform how you optimise store layouts.
  • Fast, secure deployment
    With the help of the cloud, you can now deploy wi-fi analytics software across your stores at scale, quickly and remotely – one of our customer’s managed to install 10,000 stores in a single day. Plus, instore wi-fi solutions now offer end-to-end security from every user’s device right down to your management software, so you can protect their privacy and personal data.
  • The opportunity to drive customer behaviour
    By understanding where a customer is through their connected device, retailers can now influence customer behaviour pre-purchase, sending out real time promotional content which can inspire them, mid-journey. For example, a customer browsing the cheese counter could receive a notification about a discount on pickle or crackers.
  • A fully branded experience
    Mobile applications and log-in portals can be customised to reinforce brand identity, helping to create a seamless on-brand experience for shoppers.
  • Hardware agnostic solutions
    Across their entire estate, many businesses use a mixture of hardware, but rather than having to tear out existing systems, a cloud-based platform can overlay your existing wi-fi infrastructure, so you can leverage the technology you already have in place.

Understanding your customers

We’ve seen the direct benefits when customers use instore wi-fi. Our advanced wi-fi platform has captured over 16 billion pieces of anonymous user data from over 50,000 venues, helping retailers increase their conversion rates by up to 4%, or equivalent to 1.2 million dollars. By overlaying our cloud-based instore wi-fi platform across BT’s high speed and low latency global network, you can understand who your customers are, how they use your stores and when to send them targeted campaigns at the right stage of the customer journey.

If you’d like to find out how we can deploy guest wi-fi across your estate and unlock some of these benefits for your business, please get in touch.