If you ask people what they couldn’t live without, chances are they would put Wi-Fi near the top of the list. Guest Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous in retail environments, but with increasing demand for anytime, anyplace connectivity, we are inclined to jump onto Wi-Fi hotspots with only passing concerns about security.
This has created a hunting ground for attackers. Many hotspots don’t require passwords and those that do, often use older security protocols that are easy to crack. Furthermore, cyber criminals can create a fake access point near your hotspot that invites unsuspecting customers to log on. Add to this the risks of eavesdropping, data theft and hosting illegal and harmful content and the case for secure Wi-FI becomes compelling.
The speed of Wi-Fi adoption has led to a disconnect between access and security, with systems focused on getting customers connected. But security companies such as WatchGuard are now driving secure Wi-Fi by extending physical network safeguards.
The marketing power of Wi-Fi
This new generation of secure Wi-Fi solutions also offers innovative marketing opportunities for retailers. Marketing teams can gather insights about shoppers and guest behaviour in the physical world, just as in the digital world with powerful new marketing and analytics tools. There are three stages:
- Initial Engagement: How do you get more people on your Wi-Fi and how much information can you obtain?
- Engagement Analytics: Once on your Wi-Fi, where are people spending the most time and what are they doing?
- Targeted Marketing: How can you use real-time analytics to increase engagement with your brand and drive increased purchasing habits? And once a customer leaves, how can you encourage them to return?
An overwhelming number of visitors connect to Wi-Fi network so you should brand your login experience with custom splash pages and captive portals, using social media accounts to make authentication easy. You can also offer customers help to find what they are looking for, ask for feedback or send satisfaction surveys.
The power of analytics
A customer stepping into your physical business is just like one visiting your website. Knowledge about how they got there, where they go, how long they stay and what they take with them is invaluable. Information you can gather includes guest demographics, dwell time, zone analytics and flow. You can even generate a visual map of foot traffic patterns on a floor plan.
At the basic level, just knowing who is walking through the doors can provide information to better cater for that demographic or for targeted marketing to diversify your customer base. Gender and age and are easily obtained upon sign-in or through social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This also opens the door to more sophisticated demographic information such as hometown, schools attended, and more.
Understanding how long customers are spending in your business and where they visit can be a game changer. For example, if a display is attracting high volumes of traffic you may decide to promote that product or service in the storefront and drive visitors through the store.
Real time engagement
When a customer connects to your Wi-Fi you can push real-time promotions to encourage increased spending and even sell these offers to your brands to give them greater visibility and sales. Many Wi-Fi solutions can also trigger push marketing based on behaviour or location and customer knowledge can be used to encourage further visits or send targeted promotions.
Wi-Fi is no longer just about getting connected – it absolutely has to be secure and with new engagement and analytics capabilities, you can get a better return on investment. The marketing department might even pay for it!
Find out More about WatchGuard Secure Wifi