Increasingly, guest WiFi is an area of real opportunity for commercial real estate owners, developers, and managers to help drive brand awareness, revenue and loyalty. The audience using the guest WiFi on-site in a well-visited space is highly valuable.
Generating goodwill from tenants or revenue from sponsors using an existing WiFi investment is a straightforward way of increasing operating income. Using a platform such as SocialSign.in makes tapping into your on-site digital audience easy.
Below is a brief chat our CEO, Mike Perrone had with the International Council of Shopping Centers: ICSC regarding smarter WiFi's impact on owners and developers.
To learn more about how SocialSign.in can help drive value from your guest or public WiFi visit us at http:/www.socialsign.in
Mike Perrone: Thanks for having me.
Jesse: Talk to me a little bit more about what exactly SocialSign.in is, and what you guys offer.
Mike: So, at SocialSign.in, we like to think of it as two things. We're either a marketing platform, or a sponsorship platform, or revenue driver, right? So, depending on your goals. If you're a single purpose retail location, you might have marketing goal and are more important than money. But if you're somebody who wants to monetize your audience, what we do is we come in, and we sit on top of your guest WiFi network, so we work with all of the major WiFi installations, there's no special hardware or software needed. And essentially what we do is we take the experience from a static, accept my terms and conditions, maybe give my email address, like a hotel, or something that you've been in. We change that to be a one—on—one, personalized, direct contact with that shopper.
So, the way it works, very simply, is I would go to a shopping center. I would join their free open WiFi. For the very first time we ever saw that device, they would activate it on the network, with Facebook or email, and any time they came back, we would recognize them. So, we would greet them by name. And then we would give them a bunch of different content, whether it's offers or sponsorships, or promotions, or just basic information, so that every time they're coming back they're getting a better experience, a more personalized experience.
Jesse: As a property manager, I see two—and you tell me what you think about this—but I see two other, sort of unique, possibilities with this. One, you're sort of building a better understanding of who your customer is. Two, it's a great branding play, also, for that organization and you might get a ton more eyeballs and a ton more traffic on your brand by doing this, than you would otherwise.
Mike: That's an amazingly great question, and 100% right, because what people don't realize is the traffic on your WiFi networks—for specific types of businesses, places like malls or theaters or shopping districts—you're going to have a lot more, I mean orders of magnitude more, people using your WiFi than visiting your homepage, visiting your Twitter, or visiting your Facebook. So, if you think about, just from a pure, audience—size perspective, your WiFi is your biggest digital audience and you're pretty much just leaving them untapped, from a value perspective.
Jesse: I'm going to WiFi, because, hey, my cell phone provider now charges me for data and you're alleviating all of these concerns. For the consumer and helping out the property owner/manager sort of connect all the dots, and help keep it free for the consumer.
Mike: We used to have a slogan, #dontpayfordata, which we don't use anymore, but essentially that makes a ton of sense. You would gladly make sure the bathroom is clean, you have water, you do all these things, you're going to make the guest comfortable. Cell phone plans are no longer unlimited, your throttled, and even if you do have an unlimited plan, you want a better experience.
Security is something that people obviously think about, but this is a trusted WiFi network. This isn't just an open WiFi Network, this is a trusted, branded WiFi network. The difference between us and not having us, is you would have a wide open network, where no one has their ID checked, versus a network where people have to authenticate with Facebook or email, so that devices are known and we have a good understanding, at least tactically, of the identity of the person. So what we see is complete collapse of that behavior if you're in those networks. So we'll have coffee shops that used to get cease and desist notices for people torrenting films, that all of a sudden you introduce identity into the network and all of sudden that kind of behavior stops. So, I think—we firmly believe—that we help increase the amount of security. But, obviously you need to use your head when you're doing certain things.
Jesse: Mike Perrone, from SocialSign.in, thanks so much for joining us. SocialSignin.com, make sure you go check them out. It makes a lot of sense for anybody who owns or manages a physical property, especially anyone who is going to be utilizing, giving away free WiFi to their consumers.
SocialSignin.com—make sure you check them out and thank you for watching the latest CRE Startup.