Smarter Retail Marketing With Guest WiFi Access

Date July 31, 2014 Author Comments Leave your thoughts
Retail Guest WiFi Marketing

Retailers are harnessing the potential of guest WiFi to offer a more personalised shopping experience.

The adoption of WiFi in retail stores for both store ‘corporate’ business and shopper/guest access is increasing rapidly; indeed many shoppers expect free WiFi as part of their shopping experience so that they can compare prices in real time, seek opinions from online friends on what they’re proposing to buy, or simply post the odd ‘selfie’ (a tactic executed with great success by Burberry and some other top brands)  in the most prestigious stores.

That’s all very well for the shopper, but what’s the value for the store?  In a cafe or restaurant perhaps one answer at least is pretty easy – if people stay at the tables a little longer and buy more coffee and muffins while they’re logged-on to the guest WiFi, there’s a clear revenue benefit (and perhaps the ‘free’ WiFi isn’t quite so free after all). But this is all rather passive, far greater benefit can be realised if the customer can be engaged more actively.

Guest WiFi Registration

Guest WiFi registration through a wireless guest portal is now a well established technology and enables capture of customer data including their name, mobile phone number, e-mail address, MAC address of their wireless device and whatever else the customers may be prepared to share.  And yes, we know how many m.mouse@disney.com addresses there apparently are out there – more on that later.  The key here is that as soon as the customer registers, we begin the process of building a profile for that customer; the more visits, the better the profile.

Quite apart from whether or not the customer supplied data that is valid, the difficulty is that, regardless of loyalty cards or other mechanisms, the most detailed contact with the customer is made when they check out which, when you think about it, is really at the wrong end of the shopping process. What we need to do is to engage effectively with the customer when they come in to the store, not when they go out.  And this is where the magic begins…

Personalised Retail WiFi

If this is a new registered customer we can send them a text message or e-mail “John, welcome to our store, click here for today’s special offers’.  For returning customers with an increasingly detailed profile being built, the opportunities are much greater; ‘John, welcome back, here’s a voucher for a free coffee’.  Simple? Yes, but the ability to target the marketing based on the improving profile, whether it be based on previous purchases, special offers of the day, seasonal bargains, levels of spend giving indications of disposable income, essential vs luxury goods, etc., is limited only by the imagination.

All rather intrusive? Perhaps, but market research indicates that almost three quarters of shoppers are open to this type of personalised marketing while shopping and recognise the benefits of relevant information rather than the reams of spam that we all suffer.

Here at Ensign we’re active in integrating these capabilities into retail and hospitality WiFi solutions using best-of-breed technologies for optimum performance.

Back to m.mouse@disney.com; we’re developing facilities requiring positive responses to e-mails as part of the registration process.  No e-mail response, no free access.  We may choose not to enforce the ‘no access’ piece but whether we do or not, for positive responses, we have another piece of validated data to add to the customer profile…

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Author Ian Price

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