Wi-Fi Analytics Drive Customer Engagement, Revenue Generation

Entertainment, retail, and hospitality among verticals embracing analytics to optimize their wireless networks.

5 Min Read
Wi-Fi Analytics Drive Customer Engagement, Revenue Generation
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Wi-Fi without analytics is like a fall Sunday without NFL football.

In sports, venue owners are among the most aggressive implementors of Wi-Fi. Stadium Wi-Fi data analytics are in use to identify, understand, and market to fans in the stands.

The need to leverage Wi-Fi networks to help supercharge sales and marketing efforts by forging closer ties between enterprises and their customers is building. Analytics already help firms in the entertainment, retail, and hospitality industries achieve this goal.

Better still, the Wi-Fi infrastructure, combined with analytics, also provides IT managers the information they need to enhance, expand, and upgrade their Wi-Fi networks.

Analytics packages are available from Wi-Fi networking vendors, analytics-only companies, and firms that specialize in software for specific vertical industries. There are several steps to making the most of analytics.

Building customer profiles

Thanks to years of Wi-Fi use in the numerous sectors, building robust customer profiles is lighter lifting for IT managers. In the early days, tracking device MAC addresses. But by securing personal contact info such as email addresses, it has become much easier. Technology that enabling customers to log in from a social media account adds names and demographic information to these profiles.

This includes mobile phone numbers, age, sex, language, and device type. This information powers granular, precision marketing campaigns that feature messages and messaging created for an individual or specific group, with the result being a boost in the effectiveness of marketing efforts. That's in contrast to broader, mass-audience-type approaches.

Customer contact data in a solid profile is crucial to reaching patrons for regular messaging, marketing, promotions, and rewards programs, for starters.

To reap the maximum rewards of Wi-Fi analytics undertakings, collected data can be fed into an enterprise’s marketing platforms and, for a heightened customer experience, used by firms’ CRM systems. This helps fuel the creation of a 360-degree customer engagement.

Location, location, location

One powerful capability in Wi-Fi analytics packages is the ability to locate and track the customer's movement. In retail, this can be done with multiple to many access points (AP) situated throughout a store. This can be used to determine shopping patterns and sets the groundwork for in-store promotions sent to the shopper.

In the entertainment venue (stadium), fans are a largely captive audience with limited movement during sporting contests and concerts. Nonetheless, knowing a fan’s location (seat) can enable a venue app to direct him or her to the closest concession stand or restroom based on the length of the line and estimated wait time. Some stadiums with venue apps have experimented with allowing fans in the stands to order food from their seat and have it delivered to them.

Next steps

Retailers use an important measure, called footfall analysis, to measure how long it takes for customers to move from one point to another. In retail, this analytics-powered metric is used to improve the customer experience by cutting shopper wait times by shortening checkout lines and queues.

Using the resulting expanded profiles, combined with foot patterns, time spent at different spots in a store, and the frequency of visits, retailers can leverage Wi-Fi analytics tools to optimize merchandise placement, store layout, staffing allocation, or business hours. Further, retailers can discover and create best practices for use in other stores.

On the revenue side, mall owners can use shopper traffic patterns to sell kiosk space at a premium to vendors.

Adding apps

Forward-thinking businesses – such as NFL venue owners – use stadium Wi-Fi networks to provide fans access to social media, special team content, and much more. Venue-specific apps allow customers to use the free networks to access resources, and teams to reach fans with offers and marketing programs.

These apps, which are common in the NFL, strengthen the bond between business and customers by offering perks, promos, connections to pro shops, etc. and other useful features that promote the brand and its offerings.

Rewarding customer loyalty

Before you can reward customer loyalty, you have to enable it. That means letting shoppers use the same credentials to log in to Wi-Fi networks in different stories. Visits and spending across locations are logged, and businesses can create programs that feature customer-specific discounts, coupons, points, and more toward expected purchases.

These programs drive return visits to locations that are created to fuel additional spending. Time spent in a retail chain's stores is time not spent visiting competitor’s locations.

Equipping IT architects

Wi-Fi networks are akin to living, breathing entities. Their care and feeding include expansion, redesigns, optimizations, and upgrades to a newer version of Wi-Fi. Configuration information, network data traffic, and application response time help IT managers spot trends and adjust and plan accordingly.

Many enterprises in the entertainment vertical are already using analytics on current network usage to evaluate Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), the latest version of the wireless network technology, which boasts four times the speed of its predecessor as well as power reduction and congestion-combatting features.

Thanks to widening use of Wi-Fi analytics, chances are that the venue of the NFL contest you’re watching this fall, or the store you’re shopping in to avoid sports, is made smarter for businesses and customers alike.

Related Network Computing articles:  

AI-Driven Wireless Is Key to the Digital Workplace

Five Considerations for a Wi-Fi 6 Deployment Plan


About the Author(s)

Bob Wallace, Featured Writer

A veteran business and technology journalist, Bob Wallace has covered networking, telecom, and video strategies for global media outlets such as International Data Group and United Business Media. He has specialized in identifying and analyzing trends in enterprise and service provider use of enabling technologies. Most recently, Bob has focused on developments at the intersection of technology and sports. A native of Massachusetts, he lives in Ashland and can be reached at[email protected]or @fastforwardbob

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