Free Wifi Free Insights for companies

Companies that offer free wifi could be reviewing the browsing to gather insights

This blog post has been long in the waiting, a concept I had in university that is happening in nearly every supermarket today, data collecting from free wifi.

When I was studying the impact of mobile on the shopping experience ‘show rooming’ was a popular marketing term meaning people price comparing online. High street Bricks and mortar stores are suffering (stat) from this so one way they can fight back is by understanding the journey in store and wifi data collection an help.

When signing into free wifi business collect rich contact details like emails, names, birthdays, phone numbers that can be used with the Agreed T&Cs. Below I’m going to discus a couple of use cases for business to capitalise on what 1st party they might be using.

If you a business are collecting browsing of all connected visitors you can able to see spikes and troughs of Internet behaviours in stores. Example of this could be a new sales display that develops spike in the displays product. A trough could be a product that was being searched for a lot and incremental sales then drops off. These changes might bring to light some insights that could improve business practice in store.

Back to the rich data, emails, phone numbers can open up opportunities. This data can be used to check with owned data to see if the wifi user is an existing customer. Now the business has new data sets to at to their customer profile. These data points could then be used to deliver custom messages later (without being to intrusive). The none matched emails or phone numbers could then be matched with Facebook users to retarget them with an offer or discount to come back to the store. Facebook and other services Acxiom also offer a lookalike service to find people like the people connecting to the wifi.

The shopping experience, store owners and larger retailers can really own the experience with customers. They can provide a vast amount of information to the customer. This could be how a product is made, where the materials a soruced, to a famous chef explaining how to cook a meal. The ability to understand what customers are looking for information wise could open the door to content creation, to solve the problems of the customers.

Barclays worked with BT wifi to give customers and their staff access to free wifi, the Staff in the store can now use the banking apps on customers smart devices. This also goes to show that in store displays are not just for the walls or shelves but an experience can be on the Customers phone, that can also be taken away.  

Starbucks is a good example of owning the experience with their app that lets customers pre-order drinks or pay on their phone. These kind of features build loyalty through function. It works so well because it solves the problem of waiting in a long queue to then wait for your drink to be made.

Cities and free wifi

New York City is currently rolling out free Wifi hotspots that anyone can use. More details can be found in the video below. But imagine a city that is tracking the Internet behaviours of its natives and tourists. To find out where people search for landmarks and tourist destinations. There might be opportunities here for NYC to start commercialising new attractions.

I feel this will be part one and part two will be case studies I have find. Also the implications of beacons on the retail experience and also the ability to pin point where people are around the store will play an important role.


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