Retail & Wi-Fi: Improving the shopper experience (part 1)

Shoppers today are no longer just confined to the brick-and-mortar retail experience. When retail customers walk into a store, they have more tools at their fingertips to access online shopping comparisons, store lookup, product search, online reviews and more, all via Wi-Fi on smartphones or other mobile devices. 

In this blog series, we'll take a look at the top five reasons brick-and-mortar retailers should open their stores for in-store Wi-Fi and confidently pursue new opportunities with the right Wi-Fi solution. Not only can they enhance their customers’ shopping experience with their brand, they can also use Wi-Fi to gather valuable insight into purchase behaviors to drive sales and improve operational effectiveness.

A 2012 study conducted by IBM surveyed shoppers in eight mature and seven growth economies (Winning over the empowered consumer: Why trust matters, IBM 2012) and found that 45% of consumers use two or more device technologies to shop and make buying decisions, typically a PC-based laptop and a mobile device. Customers today have multiple online outlets to shop in addition to the stores and expect a seamless experience in terms of placing the order, pickup-and-delivery and exchanges-and-return in any combination of outlets. Mobile connectivity is an essential part of this shopping experience wherever the customer happens to be to access product content, do comparisons and read community feedback in real-time.

The right Wi-Fi network is the need of the hour for the retailers to connect the stores, warehouses, distribution centers and contact centers to support the deluge of mobile devices, transform the shopping experience and ignite new levels of customer brand loyalty.

Modern Wi-Fi infrastructure is transforming the in-store customer experience in five popular ways, which we'll explore in more detail in a 5-part blog series:

  1. Empowering customers to self-service when in the store
  2. Customer retention and loyalty
  3. Mobile Point-of-Sale and line busting
  4. Digital signage and display advertisement
  5. Support for wide array of Wi-Fi enabled store devices

First up: Empowering Customers to Self-Service When in the Store

The most successful retailers realize the value of in-store Wi-Fi for providing comprehensive coverage and Internet access for customers. By deploying a Wi-Fi guess access solution, retailers give customers the ability to check product details, check gift registry and availability in the aisle.
Once they are in your store, the convenience of being able to order or purchase immediately helps increase-shopping satisfaction, avail personalized offers and loyalty programs and use mobile device for way finding and navigation. With the customers in the store network, retailers can encourage the use of the store website or a mobile app to avail online services, participate in online community and promote on social media websites.
The number of people carrying a device with active Wi-Fi has reached a point at which there is a statistically significant sample of people in a store at any given time. Depending on the store and customer demographics, typically 40% to 70% of all visitors are carrying a phone with Wi-Fi that can be measured. The right wireless network and analytics software can use Wi-Fi signals to accurately represent total foot traffic inside and around the store. With analytics software, retailers can transform the in-store Wi-Fi into a consumer analytics tool for optimizing retail operations and maximizing per-store revenue:
  • Optimize capture rate: Optimize the capture rate to generate thousands of dollars in additional sales per day, per store. Identify shopping applications that customers use and collect numbers of walk-by customers, visits, and percentages of people that come inside the store.
  • Increase duration rates: Track visit durations and identify shoppers staying longer than 30 minutes to evaluate engagements. Use this data to tailor the sales process and improve in-store operations.
  • Improve service levels: Monitor line lengths, sales associate availability, and wait times to improve service levels.
  • Improve engagement with customers: Analytics data lets you track traffic patterns, assess promotional effectiveness, personalize in-store coupon and “specials” when customer is in the store, and capture data for maximizing social media effectiveness.
  • Enhance customer loyalty: Track visit and walk-by frequency, repeat visits, and recent visits to identify premier customers and develop program for increasing loyalty.
Other posts in our Retail & Wi-Fi blog series:

Leave a Reply