Countdowns with gin advent calendars and wish lists a mile long bring joy to adults and children each year for Christmas. Tis (almost) the season to be jolly and take care of last minute good deeds to secure your place on the Nice List. Although, John Lewis’ London Canary Wharf store may have bought themselves a few pieces of coal this year having revealed the creature under the bed three days early.

Under The Bed toy

John Lewis leaked #UnderTheBed toy

Christmas ad campaigns have become a highly anticipated part of Christmas cheer. Marketing departments spend the whole year and multi-million pound budgets to get a moment like Buster the Boxer. Buster took the social world by storm last year with his droopy eyes and trampoline, engaging families beyond the screen and into the hearts of millions.

Creating a retail marketing campaign to build excitement, and then keep fans excited after the ads drop is a mammoth task in the competitive retail market. With the latest #UnderTheBed campaign we wonder if John Lewis will be able to track where the creature, and their customers who will come flooding into their department stores looking for it, have been. At Purple, we know which particular corner the creature favours under the bed, how long it’s been there waiting and even if it’s a return visitor.

But how did we know something was under the bed?

Heat mapping analytics and proximity marketing tracks the movement of customers as they move through retail stores and shopping malls. By using the free WiFi throughout the store to overlay analytics software, brands can draw invisible lines around specific areas of their venue and identify behaviour patterns within that space, effectively allocate business resources and gauge what purchases they are considering.

As part of a retail marketing campaign tool, brands can also design a fully branded splash page and redirect customers to landing pages and social media accounts while they are in-store to grow online followers.

How to use heat mapping in your retail marketing campaign

John Lewis could have heat mapped their store to find the hotspots in each department where lots of customers walk by to place a colourful bed with a small pair of eyes peeking out from under the duvet.

With the proximity marketing tool, customers could be sent a real-time update of the advert while they are in-store, including exclusive additional clips of the cuddly creature with a splash page to direct them to a competition to meet or win a cuddly toy.

When customers leave the department store they can be sent a follow up survey of how they found their experience in-store and gain rich, timely feedback about the campaign. Or, an email about a particular product they hovered by for more than 10 minutes considering their purchase.

So not only are visitors entertained by being connected to the Internet, they would remain engaged in the story beyond the screen, and learn to anticipate next year’s campaign before New Years has come to pass.

Read more about Purple’s WiFi marketing features:

• Optimize windows displays
• Validate product placement
• A/B test new store concepts with clear visual actions

Read next: Why shopping malls should be at the front of the queue for WiFi analytics