Retailers can now use Samsung’s in-store digital screens to analyse customer behaviour

Juha Mattsson

Walkbase Wi-Fi analytics technology is now integrated to Samsung's in-store digital displays to provide retailers with a new way to run marketing campaigns in their shops. “The added insight from the technology can justify more specific advertising and more controlled levels of [ad] spend.”

Last week’s Tuesday (Sept 22nd) was a big day for Walkbase, but even bigger for retail as we launched both our partnership with Samsung as well as the joint Samsung and Walkbase solution called Augmented Advertising. The solution combines Samsung displays to Walkbase Wi-Fi analytics and enables retailers to make the most out of their investments to digital signage, save in out-of-store media cost, and grow earnings from existing store space.

Päivi Luostarinen, the UK Ambassador of Finland, opening the event which was held at the Ambassador’s residence in Kensington Gardens, London, on September 22, 2015.

For those who missed the launch press coverage in Bloomberg, The Drum, Retail Gazette, Retail Times, Essential Retail and many others, the solution uses existing store Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi embedded in Samsung displays to anonymously analyse customer behaviour based on signals from customer smartphones. This generates insights including the paths customers take, which categories and sections they visit, and how long they stay, forming a basis for behaviour-based shopper profiles.

These anonymous profiles again enables retailers to sell targeted advertising on in-store digital signage, giving control back to the retailers on how they sell their digital media. Real-time analytics will be fed back to marketing and CMS system, allowing campaigns to be continually updated. The data is also used for accurately measuring ad impressions, such as how many saw an ad at any given time, and what were the subsequent behavioural patterns within the entire store.

Walkbase CEO & Co-Founder Tuomas Wuoti: “Who would have believed five years ago that the mass adoption of smartphones would allow us to accurately understand the behaviour of shoppers in physical stores?”

The Launch event was witnessed by a crowd north of a hundred invitees, mostly from top UK retail brands including Topshop, Ted Baker, Dune, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Harrods, Tesco, and House of Fraser. The event also drew people from retail banking, airports, telcos and even a multinational pharmaceuticals company with massive real-estate to be managed. Want to get a taste of the atmosphere at the event? -- Take a look at the event's photo gallery.

People were genuinely excited, creating electricity in the air. “I think the potential benefits of Augmented Advertising, for retailers in particular, are huge”, commented Hayden Tucker of Topshop. “It’s really great to see the [in-store analytics & marketing] industry starting to mature. I’m a big supporter of the [Walkbase] technology”, said Matt Price from EE. Even the retail banking sector got interested: “I could see some applications to it [for the financial sector]”, noted Alex Sandrey of HSBC.

People crowding in to hear the Q & A session.

One of the foremost supporters was Alex Hanson of the Arcadia Group. He took the stage for a few moments to explain the business impacts Topshop has already been able to lever out of Walkbase data. One of the examples was about the opening hours of their flagship store at Oxford Circus. “For the first hour of the day we did have sales, but the [Walkbase] data showed that the conversion rate was very low. So we changed the opening hours to more effective times,” Hanson said. He added: “Walkbase [are able] to provide weekly reports that are targeted towards particular KPIs.” The aim is to be able to refine store layouts and locate advertising messages more effectively on a continuous basis.

Alex Hanson, Regional Controller at Topshop: “I didn’t want to turn our team into data miners”

Besides targeting ads based on behavioural customer profiles, “the Walkbase in-store data is very important to understand where to place the screens in the store”, said Judith Swan of Samsung who joined Adrian James of Walkbase to unveil the new solution. Mr. James added: “Once the display has been located in high traffic points, the data can then be broken down to identify how much to charge for Advertising slots based on time of day and month for that Display location.” He concluded: “All this means we can give retailers more granular data than ever before, helping them to understand how the in-store experience impacts conversion and to tailor advertising accordingly – creating the ultimate personal experience for the customer.”

Judith Swan of Samsung and Adrian James of Walkbase unveiling the Augmented Advertising solution.

Given all the enthusiasm, it was not a surprise that Mr. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the former CEO of Nokia Corporation and an early Walkbase investor, wanted to send his personal greetings to the attendees on a touching 2-minute video. He said: “Above all, I’m a big supporter of the company. The value proposition is second to none, and the market is there as we speak. And that’s inevitable.”

Olli Pekka Kallasvuo, the former CEO of Nokia and Walkbase investor, speaking on a video greeting to the attendees.

The premises were as posh as the crowd -- thanks of which goes to the UK Ambassador of Finland and her wonderful staff, as well as Samsung bringing in half a dozen of their finest retail displays in different sizes!

And of course the sugar topping of the evening was the counter prepared by the people from the Kyrö Distillery from Finland. Their gin named Napue was selected as the number one gin in the world earlier this year. “The evening has been great and the gin and tonic was sensational”, told one of the guests.

Mikko Koskinen and Simon Kent from Kyrö Distillery ready to serve their unique recipe of cranberry and rosemary gin & tonic, made out of the world’s #1 gin, Napue.

As I asked Tuomas Wuoti, the CEO of Walkbase to give his favourite memory of the Walkbase UK launch event, he concluded: “What warms me most is the massive positive feedback we’ve got from pretty much everyone. The level of genuine excitement tells a lot about the maturing of the market. Even the no-show rate was exceptionally low, despite the weather.”

Well, I guess London’s weather didn’t stop many, as everyone’s used to it -- it’s more or less the same as here in Helsinki.

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Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.