Why WiFi is the Best Footfall Analytics Platform for Shopping Malls

12th Jul 2017

Footfall analytics helps to introduce methods to boost sales, improve performances, increase ROI and make instant operational changes. It all started with manual tally counters to get simple data like the number of walk-ins. Later, store sensors were introduced with RFID sensors which not just counted the number of exits, but also acted as an anti-theft system. There were multiple systems introduced, but most of it stopped at just giving a number with a low accuracy rate.

Why-WiFi-is-the-Best-Footfall-Analytics-Platform-for-Shopping-Malls

There are other technologies like video analytics, thermal imaging, infrared beams, time of flight, beacons and GPS location analytics to track footfall analytics. There are many advantages and disadvantages with these platforms.

Video analytics – The technology itself is still in the process of getting to a level where the accuracy for facial recognition still has a long way to go. Even Google photos haven’t reached a hundred percent accuracy for facial recognition. Especially with videos, the resolution and image quality matters. The products available with a high accuracy will be equally priced very high.

Thermal image analytics – These are easy to be installed and calibrated. It detects the emissions from moving objects. Since it it is independent of light, it can work under any lighting condition suitable for physical spaces. The accuracy rate is only 95%, because the heat signature will seem blended when people overlap in the frame.

Infrared beams – When an object cuts the beam, plus 1 to the count. It can’t detect if the object entered or left the perimeter. All it can count is how many times the IR beams were cut. They are easy to be installed and low cost. Since the accuracy is low, it is not recommended for footfall analytics when there are much advanced systems in place today.

Beacons – are transmitters of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio waves signals. Signals are transmitted from the beacon device, which are either powered by battery cells or connected to a power source, carrying information like the UDID of the device and signal strength. Beacon signals can trigger to open a native installed on the phone. The app can calculate the distance it is from the beacon device with signal strength. The backend of the app can have a counter to track the number of devices it detected in the area, as long as a native app is installed on the phone — which is the disadvantage of using such a system.

GPS location – GPS tracking doesn’t work inside buildings. So before we start looking at the advantages, this is a deal breaker to track footfall for shopping malls.

WiFi for footfall analytics

All these brings me to introduce the best technology for footfall analytics, a WiFi analytics, and engagement platform. Any smartphone device that enters a WiFi enabled premises can be tracked. These days, smartphone penetration has reached a point where to qualify as target audience they will need a smartphone, because the sample size is that large, perhaps the largest.

A WiFi analytics platform has a lot of advantage over the other existing technologies and platforms. It can track and record a new vs repeat visitor, identify heat maps of each area, differentiate each type of visitors like a business lunch user, mom shopper, window shopper, loyalty member and so on. These are identified by integrating the WiFi platform with a point of sale software and other softwares which record customer interaction.

July’s Proximity MX platform can integrate social login which allows capturing more details of the customer — with the permission of the customer, of course. Since WiFi also provides internet access to customers, there is no reason why they wouldn’t opt out of it. Our platform even helps retailers and shopping malls to engage with customers through captive portals, apps, SMSs, and emails. So even after the user leaves the perimeter, through multi-level engagement, they are connected and engaged.

Information like where are the visitors spending more time at, where do they first walk into, which entrance do they enter from can all be tracked. This information can be then used to make changes in the mall’s perimeter to increase ROI of display ads, realign kiosks and even introduce more techniques to attract customers. And hence with all the added advantages, WiFi can be declared as the best footfall analytics platform.


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