Using Wi-Fi Analytics to Understand Customers while Maintaining Privacy
The ability to collect, analyze and use customer data has always been key to the online shopping experience. By tracking cookies, purchase history, search history and more, e-tailers can make data-driven decisions about how to cater to their customers. Such insights created a huge advantage over brick-and-mortar competitors.
Advanced Wi-Fi analytics platforms have leveled the playing field by enabling stores with physical locations to capture and leverage vast amounts of Wi-Fi data to map the customer experience. Through our SageWi-Fi offering, SageNet enables retailers, restaurants, hotels and more to utilize such analytics to identify trends, improve marketing strategies and boost sales.
How it Works
Wi-Fi analytics platforms pull data from customer mobile devices, which don’t even need to be connected to a wireless network. Smartphones and other mobile devices continuously transmit signals in search of access points (APs). These transmissions include the device’s MAC address, which is a unique identifying code.
When an AP receives the transmission, it adds the device’s MAC address into a database and anonymously tracks it until it moves out of range. If it comes back into range, that information is added to the database. The system then links the MAC address with other data such as the location of the device, signal strength, date, time and more. Analysis of that data can generate metrics about traffic patterns, dwell times, visit times and repeat rates that can be used to build customer profiles.
The profile is particularly valuable if the customer actually logs in to the guest Wi-Fi network. The system can then associate a customer’s name and contact information with all the other data linked to that MAC address. Here are a few of the ways that stores, hotels and restaurants can use that information to improve the customer experience:
- Targeted marketing. Data about shopping habits and buying preferences can guide the development of personalized emails, texts and social media campaigns promoting products or services that a customer is most likely to buy.
- Loyalty programs. Stores, hotels and restaurants can use customer data to design incentives, sales and other personalized rewards for frequent customers.
- Store design. Detailed heat maps of customer traffic patterns can be used to enhance space allocation and product placement.
- Efficient staffing. Data about customer traffic patterns can be used to ensure adequate staffing is available during peak times and prevent overstaffing during slow periods.
How SageNet Ensures Privacy
Wi-Fi tracking and analytics does raise privacy concerns. Although a MAC address by itself isn’t considered personally identifiable information, some regulators and legal analysts contend that it becomes personal data once it is linked with other location data that can be traced to a specific person.
Data protection regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) dictate that those collecting Wi-Fi data must have a legal basis for processing that data. Additionally, they must inform customers that data has been collected and give them the right to access that information.
SageNet has gone to great lengths to ensure our managed Wi-Fi solutions comply with these regulations. Our guest Wi-Fi services present consumers with a landing page that displays an opt-in consent message, which requires users to explicitly consent to data collection. The GDPR and CCPA both stipulate that customer consent provides the legal basis for data processing. We also have processes in place to ensure consumers can exercise their right to access collected data.
To learn more about the Wi-Fi analytics capabilities offered through our SageWi-Fi services, visit us at www.sagenet.com or give us a call at 1-866-480-2263.
Jason SchwakopfSenior Sales Engineer
Recent events have caused a paradigm shift for many companies, accelerating their desire to better leverage IoT. Supply chain, healthcare, advanced living care, retail and other service industries are going to be looking at ways to be “touchless” as much as possible. Enterprise systems will need a new level of flexibility, accessibility and above all, security.Get to know Jason
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