Analytics provider Euclid is launching no-hardware solution Euclid Zero for brick and mortar shops to monitor customer behaviour and make better decisions about things like window displays and store layout.

The new service allows retailers, shopping centres and venues to measure behaviour inside establishments using the existing wireless infrastructure. Currently Euclid Zero works with Aerohive Networks, Aruba Networks and Xirrus in the US market but CEO Will Smith says that it could be applied anywhere to other networks and that he has plans for international expansion.

Euclid analyses an average of three billion events per day through its existing installations. In the past the company has provided services that require hardware or sensors to be installed in venues. Euclid Zero means that the analytics dashboard can be accessed by customers through their own network management system.

Euclid page 730x559 Euclid launches Google Analytics style measurement for brick and mortar stores via WiFi

Smith told The Next Web how Euclid was providing a solution that has long been a problem for real-world businesses. “We describe ourselves as Google analytics for the physical world,” he says. “We tell retailers things like how frequently people visit their stores, how many people come in for five minutes and leave because the lines are too long. we’re really trying to give them the data to answer these questions that they’ve had forever but have been impossible to answer.”

Opting in or out

Euclid Zero measures the activity of all shoppers carrying a Wi-Fi enabled mobile device, without requiring them to connect to the in-store network or run a mobile app. To ensure shopper privacy, Euclid provides only aggregated, anonymous insights to its clients and offers an easy opt-out for individuals with concerns.

Naturally this still raises a few questions about options for customers of Euclid’s clients. “We contractually require our customers to provide notice at the store window that tells customers how to opt-out and about what we do,” says Smith. “There’s a quick link to the site where you can opt out easily and a QR code so you can do all of this on your phone, for all different phone types.”

will smith euclid 220x286 Euclid launches Google Analytics style measurement for brick and mortar stores via WiFi“Opt-in was considered but to enable retailers to reduce line lengths and make sure they are stocking things that make you come back time and time again you really need a significant data set. With an opt in service, from an analytics service, you won’t get that.”

Euclid launched in November 2011 with the aim of helping brick and mortar shops use analytics to compete with online retailers. “I come from the retail side of things but one of my partners was one of the founders of Urchin and head of web analytics at Google,” explains Smith. “For analytics to come to real life has taken a long time.”

“If you think about it, 20 years ago, online and offline retail were basically in the same spot,” he continues. “Online retail had the early on-screen details like ‘clickers’ that showed how many people would read it and offline retail had an optical sensor above the door that told them how many people came into the store. For the past 20 years online has evolved so much whereas offline has been pretty stagnant.”

Bringing change to offline premises has taken a perfect arrangement of technologies to enable services like Euclid Zero to exist.”A solution like ours is only possible because of the penetration of smartphones,” says Smith. “A couple of years ago, this wouldn’t have worked, there were not enough phones out there to count.”

“Another thing that makes it much easier is Amazon Web Services and other new services that make it much cheaper to actually analyse this much data. We’re looking at billions of events per day and that would have cost us an arm and a leg a couple of years ago.”

So with online retail taking a bite out of high street profits, can the meatspace be empowered by data? “I think it’s the right time,” says Smith. “Online and offline are converging and Amazon’s really eating everyone’s lunch. Online commerce has grown significantly where physical commerce hasn’t. The time is now if they’re going to fight back against online at all.”

Image Credit: LancerE / Flickr