Industry Trends

Understanding Consumer Behaviour from Wi-fi Insights

By Fortinet | March 14, 2016

We have all embraced online searching and shopping. The days of driving around town to compare costs or referring to the most current newspaper advertisement for a bargain have long gone. Today’s consumer reaches out via the Internet on a variety of devices to check product reviews, find discount coupons, locate attractions, and read email sales notices from their favorite companies.

Analysis of data allows a business to study consumer needs and intentions

Technology enables business to track consumer behavior while connected to a Wi-fi system within a facility, from their home, or viewing a website from another location. Data and analytics have become so sophisticated in today’s times that companies can tell when a customer has explored an item or service online, but not made a final purchase. Online tracking and analysis allows a business to follow-up an incomplete sale with targeted online advertising and emails they can send directly to consumers. It then becomes important to deliver the right message to the right consumer based on analysis of behavior patterns, through the study of available data. It’s about creating intimacy with consumers.

It’s important to consider the ease with which a consumer can access, review and purchase a product or service

When a customer browses for a product, checking prices and quality, this search and evaluation time means the customer is narrowing down choices while deciding whether or not to buy. This can include decisions about attending a sporting event or concert, as well. A business ideally should not wait until that customer leaves the location without buying before putting additional information in their view that can help them complete a purchase or enhance their experience at an event. Analytics about consumer behavior helps companies understand consumer needs, as they seek information through their Wi-fi connected devices. When a consumer visits a brick-and-mortar store, Wi-fi tracking and analysis can carry over when sending out email receipts, using it to convey another sales message. Later email communication to that same customer about new products and services keeps a consumer connected in thought and action (reading the email), and therefore gives a company another opportunity to build loyalty and garner additional sales.

Brick-and-mortar shopping enhanced by Wi-Fi hotspots

Customers don’t make immediate buying decisions. They peruse, compare and shop for the best pricing before completing a transaction. They form opinions about a product, thinking about their wants and needs before buying. It is a process that can take a few hours or a few weeks to complete as they narrow options and make the final buying decision. According to statistics published by National Australia Bank, Australians spent $16.6 billion online in the year to January 2015, an increase of 9% compared to the previous year. But this comparative shopping doesn’t have to be done from a home computer. It can be done within feet of or inside a brick-and-mortar store, as more and more people have mobile phones or tablets that are Internet-enabled devices which connect via Wi-Fi.

In June 2014, 70 percent of adult Australians used their mobile phones to access the Internet, while 30 percent used tablets, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Moving from one location to another – say, from a coffee shop to the clothing store across the street –connected via hotspots allows consumers to research prices of items in that store using the mobile device. Providing free enterprise Wi-Fi to consumers proves a valuable attraction to consumers, but it must be over a secure network to protect both the consumer and the business.

Fortinet information states that 80 percent of businesses report that in the past 12 months, they have had two or more data breaches. Fortinet firewalls offers reliable security via its Next Generation Intrusion Prevention System, recommended for its excellent security features and performance. FortiGate firewall platforms provides a safe environment for retail clients in which to conduct online business. Entry level, mid-range to high-end products are available to accommodate various types of businesses and budgets.

Use of social media messaging and targeted advertising can influence customer behavior.

Top-of-the-mind awareness is a long-time approach to advertising, creating an image and presence in the mind of the consumer to influence buying choices. Analysis of consumer behavior is valuable to a business when deciding where its messages appear and how often, determining where to spend advertising dollars. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are all influencers of today’s consumers, who are very likely to be posting to those platforms while inside your store. Being in the mix social media advertising can target a business’s message before a customer has left the store. Wi-fi analytics is the tool and means to know which customers are paying attention via social media.

Online review companies, such as Yelp, also influence consumer choices.

It’s akin to getting good or bad reviews from friends. According to a 2014 survey conducted by, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Thus, analysis of a company’s posted reviews will give a business direction where improvement should be made and where one is functioning better than the competition. Results of the study showed that nearly nine in 10 consumers have read online reviews to learn about the quality of a business. They will read as many as 10 reviews or up to 20 before deciding whether to engage or buy from a business, the survey reported. Positive reviews inspire trust in a company, while negative reviews undoubtedly turn a consumer away, which can affect a company’s earnings.

In a July 2015 article published in CMO magazine, 72 percent of consumers consider important having a high-speed Internet connection in every room in their house. It speaks to the demand for content, whether it be for shopping, watching movies, research for school homework, search for services, or connecting with friends. The consumer behaviors can be analyzed to the benefit of a company, whose job in the end is to please the customer, which generates revenue.

According to marketer Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union, “The easier you make something for customers, the more intimate you become with someone and they will, in turn, talk about your brand, be advocates and reinforce your brand.”

Fortinet products and services cover a wide range of technology needs.

Customer engagement tools that include Wi-fi analytics processes are the foundation of the Presence Analytics solution. It delivers more than just location-based analytics. It has social Wi-fi capability, and combines statistical analytics with a sophisticated customer engagement engine. The product enables retailers to influence customers’ buying decisions, attract new customers, and motivate customers to add to their existing purchases.

As the winner of the 2015 Network World Middle East Awards for its high performance network security solutions, Fortinet services include the company’s flagship platform, FortiGate, which consists of physical and virtual appliances for a company’s online security and networking functions. FortiOS is the proprietary operating system, serving as the foundation for and integration of all security and networking functions.

Fortinet offers better security via its Next Generation Intrusion Prevention System, recommended for its excellent security features and performance. In 2015, NSS Labs of Austin, Texas, USA, issued a report that tested the Fortinet FortiGate-1500D. It found that the program blocked 99.2% of exploitation attempts. FortiGate offers a business protection from network threats, which provides a safe environment for retail clients in which to do business, and thereby protect revenue streams and gain customer trust.