Mobile Location Analytics (MLA)
Retailers succeed when they serve their customers. This means understanding what products consumers want, how to shorten lines, and which displays and promotions get shoppers’ attention. For many years, stores have done this based on anecdotal advice from employees or customers.
New technologies, which rely on the fact that most people carry a mobile device, now allow retailers to receive signals from devices that are in or near their stores. If your mobile device has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on, it broadcasts a unique number – called a MAC address – that can be logged by Wi-Fi equipment or Bluetooth sensors. A MAC address is simply a 12-character string of letters and numbers; it doesn’t contain personal information like your name, email address, or phone number.
Since a MAC address is unique to each device, special analytics software can be used to generate reports about customer traffic in a store based on the MAC addresses that are detected at any given time. For instance, a retailer can learn how many unique customers walk into a store, and the path shoppers take as they move throughout the store. A retailers can then use this information to improve customer service – by making sure there are enough employees in the store, reducing wait times, or improving store layouts.
This website provides more details about these technologies, the information they collect and how it is used, and your choices.