Retailers now have the ability to far better understand shopper behaviour in-store; everything from where they go, what they look at, how long they engage with a product, and whether this ultimately results in a sale….all this can be anonymously monitored.
-Ed Armishaw, head of customer acquisition, Walkbase
Walkbase. Probably one of the fastest-growing companies you’ve never heard of, Walkbase uses ‘free’ in-store wi-fi and mobile apps to track customer movement and behaviour in store.
Just in case you were in any doubt about the levels of surveillance you place yourself under when you log on with your phone, have a look at the Walkbase ‘Solutions’ page from its website:
- Analytics – “understand customer behaviour and improve the performance of retail stores”
- Campaign – “optimise the ROI of marketing campaigns and measuring the impact of marketing on in-store shopping behaviour”
- Engage – “automate proximity marketing, deliveri personalised product recommendations and trigger loyalty rewards via mobile apps”
- Advertising – “analytics and targeting solution for retailers to determine the location, pricing and content for in-store advertising”
- Airports – “optimise passenger flows, track assets, and offer location-based services for smooth and enjoyable travel experiences”
Wi-Fi analytics industry to be worth £19bn within 5 years
“[Wi-Fi] is the beast of burden of data, and it is becoming more and more the definition of the Internet itself,” Figueroa said. “We do live in world of Wi-Fi. It’s here, it’s now, and it’s not going anywhere.”
-Wi-Fi Alliance president Edgar Figueroa
At a time when Apple & Google have outlined plans to launch indoor-location services to retailers, it should be no surprise that the Internet of Things (IoT) was the hot topic at the recent ‘Wi-Fi Now’ 2016 conference held recently in the USA.
According to current data, there are currently 8 billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices currently in use, and an additional 3 billion expected to be shipped ship in 20162.
This goes to show the huge wireless industry opportunity emerging from the IoT space, especially with the new ‘Halow wireless standard’ able to support low-power transmissions up to 1km away….meaning you can be tracked wirelessly from a lot further away than before!
Data privacy – does such a thing exist with free wi-fi?
What does this all mean for you in reality?
- In a retail park, you can be tracked from store to store
- Within a store, you can be tracked from department to department (even to the changing rooms)
- You can be sent location-based adverts on your phone (depending upon which area you are in)
So, if people are starting to get worried about data hacking through common internet-enabled household items such as kettles, shouldn’t there be a little more concern over data privacy from free wi-fi?
What to some people is data-gathering research is a gross intrusion to others…welcome to the 21st century, Big Brother really is watching you, tracking you, and now able to predict you!