Shopping centre operators are turning to data analytics to inform the retail mix, find potential new tenants and work out where best to locate them near demographic-specific foot traffic.
The company started over four years ago selling adfunded Wi-Fi in public spaces but its endgame was always to get enough network infrastructure in place to create a business around data insights.
The turning point came about 18 months ago when major property group operators began realising the value they could gain from better data on customers.
“There are progressive businesses that are on this journey and others that are still at the starting blocks,” Skyfii CEO and Co-Founder, Wayne Arthur said.
“It’s still a relatively nascent market but it isn’t as difficult a conversation as it once was.”
When shoppers want to access free Wi-Fi, they typically pass through a log-in interface. The venue owner can decide whether or not to force registration; the service can accept log-in credentials from social media accounts to streamline connection.
Once online, they can use the internet at the venue. In exchange, the service collects contextual, largely anonymous data derived from physical shopper activity which is used to inform the venue about customer behaviour and the asset’s performance.
Arthur said Skyfii isn’t particularly interested in shoppers at an individual level but rather in identifying patterns of behaviour that could lead to new business opportunities. For example, Skyfii’s analytics can identify the amount of showrooming in a centre, where customers visit shops to view goods before buying them online at a cheaper price. That data could help stores formulate targeted offers to stimulate a purchase.
The service can also potentially inform a new tenant into the retail mix of a shopping centre. A particular High Street retailer that isn’t in shopping centres frequently appears in the top seven URLs browsed by Wi-Fi users, making it a prime target for an approach. Skyfii data can also help pick a location for the store that is close to foot traffic for its target demographic.
Entering scalability & reliability with cloud services
Underpinning Skyfii’s innovative platform is a completely cloud-based architecture that backs onto Amazon Web Services (AWS). For Arthur, AWS’ scalability is a major selling point. The company is expanding into new worldwide markets including in the UK and North America, and AWS is powering Skyfii’s increasingly global footprint.
The ability to scale capacity up and down to meet demand is a major factor of consideration. In the immediate future, Skyfii is focused on building out the data science capabilities of its platform.
“Although it’s still very important for us to build our footprint, we want to be able to create as much value as we can from the information we’ve gathered and continue gathering on behalf of our customers,” Arthur said.
“Partnering with other data companies, aggregating information from different sources together and deriving additional value for our customers through data science is where we are focused.”