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Santa Rosa Ski and Sports Uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Tags to Track Customer Traffic

The company is one of thousands of small to midsize specialty retailers employing the Swarm Portal solution to measure the quantity of customer visits, and pair that information with sales data to analyze shopper behavior.
By Claire Swedberg

Since most shoppers carry a smartphone with BLE capabilities, Santa Rosa Ski and Sports is considering providing such an app to customers that would enable the Portal system to identify a specific patron entering the store, and to then forward promotional offers and other information tailored to him or her. "That becomes a win-win," Lowry says, for both retailer and shopper. "We create a more personal experience for a customer and provide a better experience overall," while the business, as a result, will boost its sales.

According to Denehy, the Swarm system is designed to fill a void in technology solutions for small businesses. "What we found was that the ability to measure details such as foot traffic and customer behavior wasn't there," he says. The existing technology solutions, he explains, were priced at a level unaffordable to small stores. With the Portal solution, all that a user requires is the BLE sensor and a smartphone or tablet, "which acts as a backhaul to the server," he states.

Santa Rosa Ski and Sports' Noah Lowry
Swarm offers integration with the most commonly used cloud-based POS systems, such as those from Vend, LightSpeed, Shopify and Revel Systems. "If they use older point-of-sale systems," Denehy says, "there's instructions to download an additional file" from Swarm that would enable the retrieval of POS data by the Swarm system.

To date, several dozen Swarm Portal customers are in the process of changing their Wi-Fi Portal wireless sensors to the BLE-based versions, and are downloading the Portal app on their BLE-based devices. In addition, Swarm has sold more than 2,000 Portal BLE-based wireless sensors. "We have customers now in all 50 states," Denehy says. The company also has distributors in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as well as offices in New York and Sydney, Australia. What's more, the firm offers a product known as Ping that includes the Portal device and a software development kit (SDK), enabling users to create their own apps to manage traffic-based data and trigger notifications.

A single Swarm Portal wireless sensor costs $79, while the monthly fee to access the Swarm-hosted server is $39. Customers using Ping would not need to utilize the cloud-based system, and thus would not have to pay the access fee.

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