What is WiFi marketing? How much does it cost? When should you use it?

Providing customers with free access to internet is a must nowadays. If a restaurant, shop or hotel doesn’t offer free internet access, it will start losing customers to another venue that does. Businesses risk not only losing customers though but also powerful marketing opportunities that WiFi offers.

  • What is WiFi marketing?
  • How does WiFi marketing work?
  • How is it different from Beacons, Geofencing, NFC etc.?
  • What can I track with WiFi?
  • How much does it cost?
  • When should I use WiFi?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the downfalls?
  • How can you get started with WiFi marketing?
WiFi Router

What is WiFi marketing?

WiFi marketing is when a place like shop, restaurant or cafe provides wireless internet access for customers and uses it as a way to create a valuable connection with them, for example by using push notifications or in-app messages. What is more WiFi enables to collect important information on customer movement and behaviour indoors which helps to retarget them later. WiFi marketing is now considered to be a must-have tool for any large and small brick and mortar businesses.

How does WiFi marketing work?

Every WiFi network enables to track, locate and enagage with customers in real time as soon as customer enters its range (on iOS customer has to be connected to the WiFi network). Once customer signs in to a free WiFi, you have the ability to communicate with him or her through a proximity app. The app determines customer's indoor position based on the signal from a WiFi router and can deliver a personalised greeting or offer a discount.

Free WiFi

How is it different from Beacons, Geofencing, NFC etc.?

WiFi signals are much stronger than those that beacons have and therefore can cover larger areas, both indoor and ourdoor. The pros of creating a WiFi marketing campaign is that you do not need to invest in any new hardware as most of retailers already have a router at their venue. You don't need to worry about a short battery life as each router is always plugged into a socket.

WiFi vs. Beacons

WiFi and beacons are similar to each other - WiFi routers and beacons send radio signals that are detected by a mobile device to locate or deliver a proximity campaign. There are however important differences. Beacon device is significantly cheaper (from 1.00 USD / piece) than a WiFi router (15.00 USD / piece). On the other hand most venues (shops, offices, malls) already have at least one WiFi router therefore there is usually no setup cost involved.

# WiFi Beacons
Battery AC (does not work on battery) Low consumption
Range up to 100 meters (330 feet) up to 70 meters (230 feet)
Accuracy few meters few centimeters
Cost Moderate Low
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Basic Customer Analytics Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Customer Analytics, Indoor Location

WiFi vs. Geofencing

The main difference between WiFi and geofencing is that WiFi uses radio signals to communicate with a smartphone whereas geofencing uses GPS signals. GPS can have a big impact on the battery life of your customer’s mobile device as it requires satellites and cell phone towers in order to pinpoint exact location. Geofencing does not work indoors and usually works better for proximity marketing outdoors.

# WiFi Geofence
Battery AC (does not work on battery) Moderate consumption
Range up to 100 meters (330 feet) no limit
Accuracy few meters 5 meters (16 feet)
Cost Moderate Low
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Basic Customer Analytics Outdoor Campaigns, Outdoor Location, Customer Analytics

WiFi vs. NFC

The main difference between WiFi and NFC is that NFC does not require battery to operate. NFC tags are also significantly cheaper than WiFi routers but provide limited information about customer behaviour and work only when tapped.

# WiFi NFC
Battery AC (does not work on battery) No battery
Range up to 100 meters (330 feet) few centimeters
Accuracy few meters few centimeters
Cost Moderate Low cost
Best For Indoor Campaigns, Loyalty, Basic Customer Analytics Loyalty, Delivering information at a tap, Security Checkpoints

What can I track with WiFi?

  • Number of visitors
  • Number of new visitors
  • Number of returning visitors
  • How many times a campaign has been viewed
  • Conversion
  • Visitor dwell time
  • Visitor age
  • Visitor gender
  • and more...

WiFi Data

How much does it cost?

WiFi marketing is a very cost effective tool. The total cost consists of two factors: (1) the cost of WiFi device and network, (2) the cost of WiFi marketing platform to enable proximity marketing and data collection. Taking into account that majority of businesses already have (1) WiFi network at their venues, the only cost is the marketing platform.

When should I use WiFi?

WiFi is a perfect solution if you have a venue with an active WiFi network and you do not want to spend money on new hardware - your router is the only device you need.
Taking into account the signal strenght, WiFi is more reliable than the signal provided by beacons but you won't be able to achieve similar level of precision, as WiFi networks usually cover large areas whereas beacon campaigns can have precision up to 1 meter.

WiFi marketing is also useful if you want to make sure that people will have bluetooth turned on to receive beacon proximity campaigns in your venue. You can simply create a WiFi campaign that triggers a notification reminder "Turn on Bluetooth to receive more special offers". This significantly increases conversion rates for beacon campaigns.

WiFi, Geofence and Beacons complement each other, so it is recommended to can use a variation of them at the same time.

What are the benefits?

  • WiFi marketing has great price / value factor compared with other technologies.
  • Extremely easy to use and implement.
  • WiFi marketing has multiple applications (engagement, customer analysis, etc.)
  • Enables to understand customers better by collecting customer behaviour data.
  • Enables to retarget customers after they walk away.
  • Improves customer experience - almost 62% of businesses that provide WiFi report that their customers stay longer.

What are the downfalls?

  • On iOS customer has to be actively connected to a WiFi network whereas on Android WiFi only needs to be turned on on a mobile device.
  • Although WiFi signals are really strong, using several WiFi routers for indoor location is not recommended due to high price of the device.

How can you get started with WiFi marketing?

Once you have a WiFi router with a network connection contact us and we will help you get started.