The rise of the smartphone
Smartphones have been one of the single largest drivers for e-commerce; constantly connecting consumers to a digital and globalised marketplace. Operating with no restriction on trading hours and a desire to learn more about your behaviour and purchase habits then thought possible, these outlets are presenting a large challenge for physical retailers.
Consumers are expected to make 79% of all online retail purchases using a mobile phone by 2021. 
The challenge of competing against the virtual store-front has led bricks and mortar retail to begin adopting existing digital practices, however adapted to the physical world. One such is the application of Location-based Analytics and marketing. This practice isn’t uncommon, notably it’s a driver behind the predictive capacities of Google Search Engine Marketing and Facebook Advertising. Whereby your location data is used in conjunction with other data sources as a predictive model for advertising.
So what is Location-based Analytics?
Location-based Analytics can involve varying data sources; CCTV, Wi-Fi and GPS just to list a few. Each providing a feed of data that can work in isolation or collaboratively to deliver aggregated reports on the behaviour of consumers in venue – indicating dwell in locations or travel between sections in a venue. The level of detail depending on its application and requirements.
Creating this level of analytical reporting with Wi-Fi is not as straightforward when compared to its counterparts of CCTV and GPS. Wi-Fi Location-based Analytics requires specific capabilities in the infrastructure, provided by vendors such as, Aruba, Cisco Meraki and Ruckus.
What are the benefits of Location-based Analytics?
The practice of recording and reporting on the location of devices has several applications. However, more commonly derives around the purpose of providing a better experience, service or outcome to those whose devices it measures.
From an operational stand-point, this practice allows organisations to make informed decisions to the ongoing maintenance and development of public spaces, venues and facilities. Better aligning themselves with a clear understanding of human behaviour and an ability to correlate these actions with outcome.
In a retail application, it is understandable that Location-based Analytics play a large role in supporting and developing an understanding of customer behaviour, similar to those mentioned by e-commerce. The use of these services allow retail venues to clearly identify shopper fidelity amongst precincts in venue, with an ability to marry these findings against shopper profiles. By collecting and aggregating this information, it can be used as a powerful segmentation tool, powering marketing campaigns that are contextualised and personalised to the interests of the audience. Not to dissimilar to the digital practices used for analysing a consumer’s digital behaviour for advertising purposes.
Tools such as IO Engage take this digital application and apply it to a physical venue, turning this information into actionable insights, establishing a clearly defined segment of consumers whose behaviour identify them as an engaged consumer. As result, enabling the deliver of marketing campaigns that are relevant to consumer interests, and can be accurately measured back to spend and visitation to store, for a true ROI. Taking the principals of data-driven marketing and replicating them for the physical world.