The Significance of ‘At-location’ Customer Acquisition in Various Industries

- 11th Oct 2017

No business can grow without expanding its customer base. Though this is obvious, the challenge lies in getting people to walk into your venue and become a paying customer.


So how do you drive prospects through your door?

WiFi analytics platforms have emerged as a reliable tool for customer acquisition at most indoor locations. A recent survey conducted by Bredin Research found that simply offering WiFi is a great way to attract new clientele, improve customer satisfaction and ensure repeat business.

The Rationale Behind Offering Free WiFi

In most social settings, like restaurants, stadiums or airports, people who once preferred to read a newspaper while waiting are now likely using their phone to access social media, or posting about how their experience with the brand is going. Free WiFi used to be seen as a high cost, but is now a customer service necessity.

Moreover, by adding a business intelligence layer over your existing WiFi infrastructure, you migrate up the value chain. The customer insights you gather over a period of time can be used to make fact based business decisions. The business value of WiFi is so much that it offsets the initial cost and yields a tremendous return on investment.

Offering free WiFi can also be used to acquire customer at location by exchanging internet access for customer information. Different industries invest in a WiFi based customer acquisition strategy  for different reasons. Here we explore some of those reasons based off of what we’ve learned from our customers.

Hospitality Industry

  • Increase customer loyalty – Offering free wifi to hotel guests is no longer a perk but the most requested amenity. It is likely to influence customers to prefer your hotel over other properties as it enables both leisure and business travel customers to do what they need to do – from checking e-mails to browsing for local events and attractions.Guests’ WiFi usage also allows hotel management to find out more about customers’ desires and preferences, as well as which promotions and freebies are most likely to be effective. For instance, if it is found that a particular guest dines at the restaurant each time he stays at the hotel, he could be sent a personalized dinner recommendation. The personalized attention is bound to inspire greater loyalty among guests.
  • More Return Visits – Research conducted by Deloitte shows that millennials are more willing than ever to search out deals and take the trouble of finding the best value for their money. However, while an offer aimed at attracting new customers may be successful, it is no guarantee of repeat business.

One way of remaining competitive in this environment is to offer what travelers are really looking for, namely the personalized service which will keep guests coming back. A WiFi analytics platform has the capability to deliver personalized and multi channel engagement. According to a survey by Oracle, 56.5% of customers want to tailor their stay – select a newspaper or set their own check-out time and 61.2% want the power to choose their own rewards.

  • Upselling – Effective marketing and increased customer insight can raise revenue while also keeping guests happier. Context-aware advertising is a prime route to identifying new opportunities, for example by sending a guest a dinner coupon as he passes a restaurant, or using the hotel’s WiFi portal to promote amenities individual guests may be interested in.

Shopping Malls

  • Bringing Customers Into Stores – The data collected by shopping malls’ WiFi can be analyzed and shared with their tenants. This allows them to respond to changes in the market, identify underserved opportunities and design their advertising more effectively.
  • Understanding Shoppers’ Movement Patterns and Optimizing Floor Layouts – In terms of product placement, cross-selling, store design and how promotions are designed, there’s little better than basing decisions on actual hard data. Do customers who enjoy action movies also tend to go out for dinner, and if so at what time? Does a certain display cause people to pause and look at it for a minute? Knowing the answers to questions like these can optimize advertising, be used to justify rental rates and optimize store design.


  • Understanding What Visitors Want – What interests customers who buy tickets for sporting events compared to those who watch music concerts, and what overlap is there between them? It may seem wasteful to install high-capacity, wide-coverage WiFi infrastructure in a stadium to be used only a few hours per week, but this is increasingly demanded by fans who want immediate access to social media, check statistics and more. Monitoring such internet access can help segment the market more precisely, optimize ad sales and identify operational improvements. The captive portal can show visitors a list of coming attractions, promote secondary sources of revenue and be used as a third-party advertising channel in its own right.

Retail Stores

  • Keeping Loyalty Program Databases up to Date – Many stores and chains have databases containing the details of thousands of customers, but how accurate can they be expected to be? For that matter, how detailed a picture do they provide in terms of market segmentation?

Accuracy in this kind of information is essential for efficiently directing marketing efforts and evaluating their effectiveness. However, phone numbers and email addresses do change over time, while the amount of personal information shoppers are willing to fill out on a card is limited. Offering free WiFi ameliorates this, as every person joining the network automatically provides intelligence such as their visit history, contact information as well as displaying links between these, purchases made and demographics.

Convention Centers

  • Supporting Conference Organizers – Individual attendees are unlikely to return regardless of the experience they have, since they’ll be arriving for a conference instead of a venue. However, it’s important to provide them with a robust WiFi connection for research on the fly, networking with other attendees and keeping in touch.

While they are doing this, they can also be presented with surveys, information on the conference and any amenities, or use the internet to navigate around events. They may, for instance, be able to give feedback in real time about any problems they are experiencing, or easily tell organizers what they think of various presentations.

  • Optimising for Future Events – Knowing more about the kinds of people who visit a convention center is always useful in attracting and better serving future events. For example – during a marketing conference, the captive portal presented during onboarding can include a drop down menu with options such as  movies, music, Virtual Reality, High Tech, etc. to capture the interests and preferences of visitors. This information can be used to optimize and enhance future events and also increase the number of attendees at events.


  • Incentivize customers through offers to the ‘mall’ airport experience – Non-aeronautical revenue is a big source of income for airports but attracting bystanders to the retail stores is a challenge. WiFi can engage passive passengers in real time turn by targeting them with personalized offers and promotions. Based on boarding time and interests, WiFi can deliver recommendation of nearby activities that might interest passengers such as directions to restrooms, retail stores, information on restaurants and car rentals.
  • Participate in a Shared Data Ecosystem – The customer information collected by airport WiFi can be shared with airline partners such as hotels, rental car companies, media companies and banks. Creating such a data ecosystem will not only ensure that services of all partners reach a wider customer base but also contribute to a seamless travel experience for customers.

WiFi Is Good, At-Location Acquisition Is Better

Customers in any venue, from supermarkets to stadiums to airports, are increasingly seeing free WiFi as their right, and are very likely to pass by businesses that do not offer it. However, this doesn’t represent all of what WiFi can do for a business, especially when it comes to the two-way communication between buyer and seller.

Proximity MX™, a leading location insights and engagement platform offers a seamless, highly customizable, location-aware aware WiFi captive portal that engages and on-boards visitors while providing them with internet access. Registration needs to be done only once, targeted advertisements can be inserted easily, and all visitor activity in the venue can be tracked. Whatever business you’re in, it might just be time to think about how you can make these capabilities work for you.

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