It’s Time To Take Location Data Driven Decisions For Business Success

As per the Gartner research, in 2020, there will be 20.4 billion connected “things” in use, up from 8.4 billion in 2017. From smartphones to sensors to appliances to stoplights, the exponential growth of connected devices is creating an overwhelming amount of data about what we do, how we do it, and where it happens. A huge amount of the data that companies collect has a spatial component. Collecting and analyzing this type of location data has emerged as one of the most powerful and important data sources, as business leaders know that in order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s market, they must understand and leverage the location piece of their data.

Location information contains information about where the customer or their device is located, either based on device sensors, GPS, or WiFi. Every device connected to the Internet is assigned a number known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. An IP address can often be used to identify the geographic block from which a device is connecting to the Internet. For example, when a consumer uses or interacts with a Google product, their device sends explicit location information to Google to enable them to provide the various customized services. Like to make ads more relevant, if one has enabled Location History in his/her mobile device and regularly visits ski resorts, then one might later see an ad for ski equipment when watching a video on YouTube.

Spotting problems to prevent mistakes is also a benefit of location data. For example a few months back Toys“R”Us said it intends to liquidate its U.S. business and shutter all of its 735 domestic toy stores and Babies “R” Us stores. The company who is 65 years old and who once became predominant in its niche field of toy retail will see such a day, nobody would have thought. There might be several reasons behind their collapse, but one reason which I can think as a data analytics person is that, if over time they would have tried understanding their customers changing needs by analyzing customers purchasing behaviors, choices, income, geography then definitely they would not have lost the toys war with Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

There are various ways by which location data can be collected, the most common one is Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Location not only improves the accuracy of location data for navigation purposes, but it also enables the creation of new, feature-rich applications and services. For example, below are the few use cases

  1. Enhance Local Sales: Local optimization, or the ability to rank high in local searches, is extremely valuable for most businesses. If a company is making efforts to improve its local performance, it needs to look into geofencing (is a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.). Since it is a location-based system, one can target local customers in a defined geographic area. One way to do this is by sending promotions to customers in the surrounding area. Companies can easily change promotions each day or have limited-time offers that will lead to increased sales from local customers.
  2. Increase Analytics and Tools for Metric Analysis: Local sales can be difficult to measure. What is it that brought a customer into the shop? If companies don’t have the chance to survey every customer who walks through their door, this can be difficult to connect to their online efforts. However, if customers are coming in with companies promotions, there are a number of metrics companies can measure, including their sales, how long they are in your store, and how often they visit your business. All of this can be valuable information that adds depth to analytics.
  3. Provide Personalization for Customers: Another benefit of location data is that it allows one to collect data in order to personalize customer offers. It gives demographics about the local population, including what kind of offers interest them and gets them in store. By looking at purchase history, the system can analyze that local customers prefer a certain product, and hence promotions can be altered accordingly.

More and more types of businesses — from Shopping Malls to Stadium all are investing in fast, free WiFi. Below are some industry-specific use cases where Wi-Fi Location data analytics can provide better business benefits:

  1. Shopping Malls: Through guest free wifi service, shopping malls can collect visitors data and cluster visitors into different categories like a weekend visitor, weekday visitor, business lunch hour visitor, frequent movie goer, bar visitor, etc. Clustering visitors in different categories will help them in sending customize the message. For instance, mall management could send a coupon for free coke/popcorn to frequent moviegoers to attract them for watching movies in their theatre. Similarly, mall management can send e-mails to customers who frequently visit kids store, informing them about kids activity happening(like Halloween or Christmas celebration) in a mall.
  2. Retail Shops: Visitor loyalty database can create a personalized experience by reminding customers to pick their favorite or most purchased items when they enter the shop. Or for instance, if someone used to visit a location once a week but hasn’t returned for more than a month, a targeted promotional message might be what’s needed to stop him from churning. The retailers that will succeed will be the ones that create relevant, personalized customer experiences, and use location data to do this.
  3. Electronics Stores: An electronics outlet’s system may detect that a customer has bought a certain device within the last few months, meaning that he might be interested in related accessories, software, and upgrades. Hence, related purchase recommendations can be sent to him via emails or text messages.
  4. Stadium: A stadium is a place where free WiFi is a must thing. Because visitors spend a good amount of time in a stadium and during their visit, they might need internet to access social media for posting live updates or they might need to check office e-mails or slack in case of a work emergency. Apart from catering customer needs through WiFi, management can get benefit via WiFi by collecting and maintaining visitors database. For instance, if a person is a frequent stadium visitor but not a club member, then he/she can be offered a club membership with a discounted rate. Or a message about free seat upgrade can be sent to loyal visitors of the stadium. Knowing customers inclination or taste always help. For example if a person is frequent stadium visitor but only attend music concerts, then by sending information only about music concerts will help in maintaining his interest in reading e-mails sent by a stadium, otherwise, if he gets information about every event, he might get frustrated and unsubscribe himself from a mailing list.
  5. Hospitals: From emergency to non-emergency to everyday preventative health care, location tracking technologies could make a big impact on our health and well-being in the future. For instance, if a handful of patients are connected to WiFi for below average period of time, then that may be due to unavailability of services that patient was looking for, and hence they left the hospital in no time. Hence predicting/forecasting visitors need is always a good idea so that right services can be placed in the right place and at right time.

Location data is currently part of our daily rituals, and it’s part of our exciting futures. With great data comes great responsibility, tech players have to honor that potential by being transparent and responsible for the information they collect. Right now is the perfect moment to invest in such a system. If one plan to engage effectively with their customers on an individual level, there really isn’t any alternative.

One such company who does WiFi location data analytics to provide brands with the most cutting-edge tools to “design compelling experiences”; to let brands appropriately engage their consumers in their physical worlds at the point to turn them into their ultimate brand’s ambassadors is CLOUD4WI.