There has been a lot of controversy in recent years following the development of new technologies that allow companies, particularity within the retail sector, to track customer footfall.
Which is understandable, especially when customers don’t even know it’s happening.
However, if companies can do this in a way that requires customers to give consent – offering complete transparency – and use the data in a way that improves the customer experience, is it really such a bad thing?
I’d say it’s crucial to succeeding in a highly competitive environment where differentiating the customer experience is so difficult.
Businesses that fail to recognize this risk being left behind.
Big data (super buzzwordy, I know, but very relevant)
I don’t think a week has passed in the last year where I haven’t heard the term ‘big data’.
New and innovative technologies are being used by businesses everywhere to capture ‘big data’; and they are using it in a number of ways to improve operational models and in turn better the end-to-end customer experience.
One of those technologies… you guessed it… customer footfall. Otherwise known as location analytics.
But how are businesses doing it? What technology are they using? And how effective is it?
The short answer = WiFi.
Using WiFi to track customer footfall
Whether you own a retail store, a stadium, a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, gym, museum… you get the idea… it pays to know how customers move around and interact within your physical venue.
Let’s start with the why (I’ll move onto the how later).
Knowing customer footfall allows you to:
- Identify your busiest months, weeks and days. This will enable you to manage staffing requirements accordingly; saving you money and keeping your customers happy.
- Improve financial forecasting based on footfall traffic and your average spend per customer.
- Set a benchmark for increasing your customer footfall and accurately track the impact of your efforts.
- Place your best selling products in areas where customers dwell – driving sales.
- Understand if customers are using your intended entry and exit points, and pathways.
- See how physical changes to your venue, e.g. new signage, impacts customer movement.
- See which of your customers are loyal – recognize this and reward them to make sure they keep coming back; increasing retention.
Need I go on?
Here’s how you can track customer footfall
Now you know why business track customer footfall, here’s how.
It’s actually a really simple concept that involves the installation of WiFi analytics.
You may have guessed that this is where the post was heading – but that’s what we do…
Purple offers a cloud WiFi analytics solution that ‘sits’ on top of your existing guest WiFi network.
When guests connect to your WiFi, Purple captures their data via a captive login portal, and tracks their movement whilst in your venue using their devices’ unique MAC address.
So not only are you able to track your customers – you can also capture key demographic data and contact information when guests are logging in. Great for your CRM.
Now I know that sounds like a data privacy nightmare.
Remember how I mentioned consent earlier in the post?
We’ve got that covered. Our solution is compliant with global privacy regulations.
Now, let me give you an idea of the volume of data you can collect
This is an example from a real Purple customer.
This data set comes from a customer with 84 restaurants in a single country.
Across those restaurants, the customer has seen 1,803,899 cumulative visits.
Of those visits, 934,449 have connected to the WiFi.
That’s 934,449 new lines of customer data. And a very happy CRM.
We then analyzed this data to help the customer understand cross pollination between restaurants.
Here’s what we found. Of the total number of connected visits, here’s how many people visited, 1, 2, 3 etc. restaurants.
How accurate is footfall tracking?
Tracking footfall with WiFi can be extremely accurate.
It all comes down to the number of access points (access points are kind of like routers, they are part of the hardware that make up the WiFi network) in the venue.
Essentially, the more access points, the better the accuracy.
The good news – venues with a guest WiFi network tend to have a ton of access points to make sure that there is a strong and consistent WiFi connection wherever their visitors go.
So, to summarize…
- Customer footfall is a really important metric to track, and provides endless benefits for both the business and the WiFi user
- WiFi analytics is a great way to track customer footfall
- WiFi analytics also enables you to gather other customer data with a captive login portal
- Customers give consent when logging onto the WiFi
- Tracking customer footfall with WiFi is very accurate if you have the right number of access points
- What’s not to like?
- Fancy a free trial? Click here.