Swarm Mobile Offers Free Wifi, In Exchange for Tracking Customers

medium_2764675971Yesterday, we wrote about the rise in online Black Friday shopping, a trend that’s been seen across almost all retail areas. Price and convenience are the two most-cited reasons for consumer’s shift to online shopping, but new start-up Swarm Mobile believes customer data plays a large role as well. Online retailers such as Amazon or eBay generates tons of data each day on customer habits, preferences, and buying patterns – all of which they can use to further refine their operations. Physical stores on the other hand have a much harder time gathering such info – a problem Swarm is hoping to solve.

Swarm Mobile’s promise is to bring “online tools to offline retail.” This is mainly done by monitoring customer’s smartphone actions while they shop, according to VentureBeat. Swarm integrates into a store’s Wifi network, and in exchange for offering free internet, collects data on customer’s habits. This gives store owners information on how many people were checking prices online, or comparing rival products. They can also choose to send coupons or discount codes to hesitant buyers. This image from their website shows some of the potential insights stores could receive:

940x323xwww-swarm-mobile-com---images-uploads-Swarm_PR_Image-940x324.png.pagespeed.ic.-OAS2DjaLT

The success of Swarm will depend largely on how many customers are willing to trade free internet for a little monitoring, or how many join a store’s wifi network to begin with. Many shoppers, when casually browsing, may not take the time to connect to a new Wifi network at all. If customers do sign on, however, Swarm could be an invaluable source of analytics for physical retailers.

About 

Born in Alaska, Cameron is now a resident of Nashville, TN. He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in English and Political Science. He enjoys following emerging technology and its impact on business. Follow Cameron on Google+, or email him with any questions or comments.

Free Download

Beginner's Guide to Business Intelligence

Learn more about the benefits of Business Intelligence in one sitting.

Get My Free Guide

Leave a Reply

Please login with your social ID above.


Comments

  1. Michele

    I’m not sure that people will exchange privacy for free Wifi.  In my area, Starbucks free Wifi is being sponsored by American Express.  You have to watch a short video ad to gain access, but you don’t have to give up any information or have your activities monitored.

  2. Kyle Turco

    I don’t think I would want to give out my information in exchange for wifi either. That said, I don’t typically even use wifi in a retail store. Unless reception was bad I wouldn’t consider my in-store internet use heavy enough to make it worth messing with a wifi network.

  3. Michele

    I’m not sure that people will exchange privacy for free Wifi.  In my area, Starbucks free Wifi is being sponsored by American Express.  You have to watch a short video ad to gain access, but you don’t have to give up any information or have your activities monitored.

  4. Kyle Turco

    I don’t think I would want to give out my information in exchange for wifi either. That said, I don’t typically even use wifi in a retail store. Unless reception was bad I wouldn’t consider my in-store internet use heavy enough to make it worth messing with a wifi network.