It’s a scenario lots of retailers can understand – after helping a customer in-store, the customer leaves without making a purchase -and there’s no way to know why, or how to change that person’s mind.

Enter Nomi, a company out of the U.S. that harnesses Wi-Fi to give brick and mortar retailers the chance to gather insights on their customers –  much the same way their online counterparts do.

“Traditionally, retailers had very little information around what was happening in their stores. For example, retailers used to know a hundred people walked into a store, and they knew what their sales numbers were so they could get conversion rate, but that’s all they really knew,” said Paul Maass, Nomi’s director of enterprise sales. He was demonstrating Nomi’s products at Dx3, a conference for marketers and retailers held in Toronto this week.

“In the online world, the e-commerce teams have a tremendous number of tools and analytics around what’s happening on the website in real time … Nomi’s a location platform, or offline analytics platform for the physical world.”

One thing Nomi uses is Apple Inc.’s iBeacon technology, in the form of a little black disc affixed to a poster or elsewhere in the store. Consumers can scan their iPhones, and then retailers are able to send them promotions and offers based on their preferences and past purchasing history.

The company also places sensors inside stores’ physical locations, “anonymously and passively” tracking people as they come by, picking up the Wi-Fi signals off of their smartphones, Maass said.

As long as people have Wi-Fi turned on, Nomi’s sensors can tell retailers how many people have passed by, how many are coming in, and how much time they spend there once they’ve entered. It also indicates which customers are new and which are repeats, and all of this information is pulled into a simple dashboard showing data visualizations of what’s going on inside the store.

“What we’re doing is letting the retailer make the store clickable, and really create an engaging experience for customers as they walk through the store – to provide maybe product reviews, I could maybe tap a shoe and get some information about the shoe,” Maass said. “So again, retailers can compete with online.”

Nomi was one of several companies housed at the Retail Collective, a prototype of what the “store of the future” might look like. While all of the companies offered different products and services, a common theme that ended up being repeated over and over was that today’s brick and mortar retailers need to offer more compelling experiences, like Nomi’s use of iBeacon technology, to lure consumers back.

“My belief is that the store is going to go from the distribution of product to the distribution of experiences, that the purpose of the store is going to be to create such a galvanizing experience that the consumer walks out and says, well, that was mind-blowing. I’ll buy from you across any channel,” said Doug Stephens, the founder of Retail Prophet Inc. He handpicked the technologies displayed within the Retail Collective, including Nomi.

Right now, the company has about 60 customers in its pilot phase, offering a cloud-based, software-as-a-service model where customers pay fees based on the number stores running its solution each month. Nomi currently offers a solution for marketing, mobile, and operations.

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