To run a successful restaurant, you must know as much as possible about your customers. That can be achieved with access to reliable, comprehensive data in real-time.
A great step in that direction is by using guest Wi-Fi analytics. While online businesses have been using customer analytics for decades, guest Wi-Fi analytics is a recent phenomenon that allows owners of restaurants and other brick-and-mortar businesses to reap the same sort of data-driven advantages.
By learning more about your customers through information captured when they sign up to use guest Wi-Fi at your restaurant, the data can be the catalyst for to improve marketing campaigns, save on costs, and make more informed operations decisions to reach your target audience going forward.
Guest Wi-Fi analytics involves collecting and analyzing customer data from Wi-Fi-enabled devices – like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches – via your restaurant's guest Wi-Fi access point(s). The data is sorted and presented in an easy-to-understand graphical interface that will help you better understand your customer base.
Every mobile device sends out a broadcast signal as it searches for available Wi-Fi networks. The broadcast signal that's sent out contains a unique code that's associated with the device called a media access control address, or MAC address. When your Wi-Fi access point picks up the MAC address, it begins to collect specific guest Wi-Fi behavior data and associates that data with individual customers.
While the system doesn’t know the customer’s name or demographic details, it will be able to log several valuable metrics into the database from the moment a customer walks through your door, even if they don’t log into your Wi-Fi. This is referred to as anonymous data.
If your restaurant has guest Wi-Fi available for customers, the anonymous data included in your restaurant's Wi-Fi analytics can provide never-before-seen insights into customer behavior at your establishment. Six examples of rich customer behavior metrics that you can glean from guest Wi-Fi analytics to become a better restaurant include:
Dwell times – This metric shows how long visitors stay at your location. It can be broken down by the hour, showing the average visit duration during each hour of the day.
First-Time Visitors – The platform identifies first-time visitors, a valuable metric in measuring the return on investment of your customer acquisition campaigns.
First-Time Visitor Return Rate - The platform also identifies how many first-time visitors return to your location. That is valuable information in efforts to create more regular customers.
Daily Traffic - This number is derived by averaging the number of customer devices detected at your location during a specific time period.
Popular Visit Times - This metric logs the average number of customer devices detected during each hour of the day. This allows you to see precise foot traffic volumes to make sure you have adequate employees on hand during peak hours.
Average Customer Repeat Rate - This is an accurate representation of how many times customers have returned to your location within a specified time frame.
When a customer logs into your restaurant's guest Wi-Fi, make sure they are required to provide their name and/or email address to access the internet. When this happens, a Wi-Fi analytics platform will instantly begin building a customer profile around that individual customer.
Any previous anonymous data that was associated with that device via its unique MAC address is added to the patron’s customer profile, allowing you to round out the profile. Other data points in the profile include age, gender, email address, zip code, and phone number.
Combining these metrics and insights with the customer profiles you have housed in your restaurant CRM solution is like solving a puzzle: Though the many pieces on their own are valuable and important, together they paint a beautiful picture of your customer's journey and behavior while at your restaurant. That is information you can use to your advantage for future marketing campaigns.
Customer profiles created by a guest Wi-Fi analytics platform can be filtered and sorted to reveal important insights about your repeat customers. This will help you going forward with customer-acquisition strategy, as well as customer-retention strategy.
Because customer behavior is monitored while they're within the range of your Wi-Fi, pre-written marketing messages can be automatically emailed to the customer based on specific behaviors. These include thank you messages for loyal customers or coupons for a free appetizer or dessert. Most Wi-Fi analytics platforms utilize email for sending manual and triggered marketing messages.
Messages can also be triggered by demographic data, such as a customer’s birthday or zip code. A message could be sent a few days prior to their birthday or to a list of customers in a specific area of the city to give consumers what they expect in today’s marketplace: personalized, engaging messaging. This will help you solidify a positive brand image while increasing customer loyalty, spend, and satisfaction.
As an added bonus, guest Wi-Fi analytics are also useful for making data-driven staffing and purchasing decisions. Not only can you identify the high-traffic days and times with accuracy, but you will also be able to better predict them and prepare for them. This data should influence your inventory purchasing strategy, helping you keep popular food items as fresh as possible while eliminating less popular options.
Using data from your restaurant's guest Wi-Fi analytics is easy to do with the right tools, and the potential boost to your business is very real in the competitive food-service industry. This provides a competitive advantage, helping you shape and enhance your customer retention strategy to ensure the long-term success of your restaurant.