Where does customer location data come from?

Customer location data can be used to generate location intelligence and reach out to customers in a whole host of innovative ways.

But, where does customer location data come from, and how does the technology work?

What technology is needed to gather customer location data?

There’s a whole myriad of equipment you can use to gather customer location data.

Each of these devices work independently. But, the more you deploy in combination, the more detailed an overview of your customer profile you’ll be able to generate.

These are the most commonly used devices:

Cell towers

Cell towers are tall metal structures that facilitate mobile phone calls, texts and data usage. Typically, they’re standalone or placed on rooftops at a height of 45–90m.

Whenever a person uses their mobile phone, their location can be triangulated as a signal will have been ‘pinged’ from the closest 2/3 towers.

Link identity to phone number using loyalty card or online account data, then find out where your customers are and what their daily routine is.


Beacons are small, inexpensive Bluetooth Low Energy devices that can track customers within a 50m radius.

Despite having a more limited range than GPS, cell towers and Wi-Fi, beacons are significantly more accurate when placing customers.

Customers have to agree to use beacons. Approval is often given when a person downloads a company’s app. Customers can then be sent highly targeted marketing resources when close to your branches.


Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses tags or smart labels to store information on a product or location.

This technology is similar to barcode scanners, but can be used out of line of sight. RFID can also gather data over time, and transmit this data automatically.

RFID is now widely used for inventory management. It can also be paired with social media or CCTV images to locate customers and gauge their reaction to products.


GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that plots users’ locations from an altitude of 20,000km.

On the most simplistic level, logging your GPS coordinates online allows customers to travel to your branch using sat nav.

You can also set up geofences. These enable you to automatically carry out pre-programmed actions when a person enters a certain area, such as dispatching an ad when a known customer is close to your store.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively recent development that enables connected devices to transfer information between one another.

This can give you access to a wealth of information that could enhance your location intelligence and help you adapt products/services to known customer behaviours.

Find out when customers use products, where they use them, how frequently they use them and tailor your marketing approach and inventory accordingly.


Wi-Fi is now almost ubiquitous in homes and many businesses, using radio waves to transmit information to anyone with access permission.

By offering free Wi-Fi and asking for a few basic registration criteria, you can track customers’ online activities, offer targeted deals and provide mobile payment options.

Begin integrating all this technology into your commercial operations and pair with advanced location planning software to take your business strategy to the next level.

Discover more about your customers’ preferences and adapt your services to optimise profitability with Periscope®.