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Limelight Platform


July 15, 2021

How Spatial Analytics Is Changing the Nature of Retail Experiences

Limelight Platform

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Remember when stores kept count of the people indoors during Covid? A staffer at the door clicking a gizmo, asking people to queue outside when a limit was hit? Stores knew exactly how many customers came through their doors in a day/week/month and, sigh, a year. It was a safety measure, but also a data point—a rudimentary form of Spatial Analytics.

Spatial Analytics is the latest evolution in technology-enabled human engagement. It’s the future of retail—and Meshh is leading the way.

Now a Limelight Platform, Meshh is the dominant force in Spatial Analytics SaaS, with a client list that includes Formula 1, Live Nation and the London Marathon. It offers a data stack that informs partners on how their consumers navigate and engage with spaces.

As an example: Now that malls are open again, Lindsay and Mike are going shopping. It’s a Wednesday, but they see it as some mid-week time together and away from back-to-back-to-back Zoom calls and the kids. They’ve got a to-do list and two free hours in their calendars. They’re on a mission.

Job 1 is to pick up a few summer clothes for the kids. They make a wrong turn entering the mall and it takes them 11 minutes to find the store. They spend 27 minutes inside, deciding on a few items and paying. Next, a big box store for diapers and laundry detergent. They’re there in five minutes. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt up and down the aisles finding what they’re looking for and the checkout is jammed. In all, it’s a 30-minute task, 12 of which they spend standing in line.

On their way out, they spy a kiosk featuring a car brand they’ve been considering. There are two models: a two-seater sports car and a four-door station wagon. They spend 60 seconds playing the “imagine if” game while staring into the two-seater’s cockpit, then move on to the wagon, giving it a real once over for six minutes—sitting in the car, inspecting the storage and so on.

Last on the list: Lindsay needs a new phone. They know where the store is and are there in four minutes. Two minutes later, a salesperson arrives. Lindsay tells him exactly what she wants. Twelve minutes after that, the sale is done and they’re heading for the mall exit, the to-do list complete.

No matter where you live in the world, this is likely a pretty familiar mall experience. Go with a purpose, strike things off your list, get out of Dodge. But what stands out are the data. In all, Lindsay and Mike were at the mall for 98 minutes, navigating it for 20, shopping for 71 and browsing cars for seven.

That kind of measurement is thanks to Meshh, which uses discreet sensors to anonymously follow device locations at retail centres, live events, leisure attractions and more. As Lindsay and Mike entered the mall, Meshh picked up their smartphones “pinging” for wifi. That signal was then translated into a unique code. Meshh doesn’t know who any of the device holders are and doesn’t report on individual devices. 

But Meshh can get much more granular than 98, 20, 71 and seven. It also offers segmentation  snapshots. In this case, that the same two devices have appeared Wednesday afternoons recently and follow a footfall pattern that includes dwell time with family-focused items—a kids’ clothing store, diapers, a station wagon—and that purchases were made at three of four stops. These devices can be aggregated into a family cluster and compared to the behavior of others.

At scale, that kind of data informs retailers about their customer cohorts—how they navigate spaces, what engages them, how often they return, how best to format stores and much more—to help decision making around store choices, placement and more.

It’s the kind of top-of-the-funnel data retailers turn into insights that build a better bottom line, create a more efficient customer experience and is shaping the future of retail.

*Editor’s note: Meshh is GDPR compliant.

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