12 November 2018
Read any retail-related news story these days and, the chances are, it’ll have a touch of the doom and gloom about it. With many retailers struggling to reinvent themselves quickly enough as the digital age marches on, many brands are being forced to close stores, and experts are busy trying to get to the bottom of it all – is it because of the internet, the economy or business rates? Does the weather, of all things, have something to answer for?
As channel partners, you have a unique opportunity to support your customers in the retail sector as they navigate these difficult times. Educating them on the advantages of customer WiFi is a good place to start. Not only does it empower them to join the dots of customer experience, but there’s also evidence to suggest that conversion rates are boosted when they can access WiFi in-store. What’s more, without in-store WiFi in brick-and-mortar stores, retailers are missing a key opportunity for data capture.
There’s no doubt that in the last decade or so, the rise of online shopping has had a huge impact on your clients in the retail sector. They’re likely to have changed the way they operate and compete as they respond to a growing shift towards online sales, which has unsurprisingly reached an all-time high.
Online shopping offers better deals and more choice. Perhaps there’s also the fact customers want to be left alone. Which apparently rings true for those shopping in-store too; according to Forbes, 95% of customers want to be left alone when shopping and a majority, if they do happen to need help, would prefer to use in-store technology than speak to a member of staff.
These are the kinds of details your retail customers need to be tapping in to if they have physical shops. Not least because the lessons to be learned might be valuable when applied to the in-store shopping experience too – the key, perhaps, to unlocking even more value from customers.
The benefits of delivering hyper-connectivity
Let’s not forget that your clients are shoppers, too. Like everyone, they’ll be familiar with how frustrating it is when you can’t get phone signal in your local supermarket or shopping centre. The advantages of offering customer WiFi are clear to see from a business perspective. After all, happier, more engaged, loyal customers can never be bad for the bottom line.
In-store customer WiFi means being able to offer things like one-off, pop-up deals or incentives. Better still, these can be personalised and tailored to customer preferences or habits, making uptake even more likely. And while the customer is benefitting from connectivity in this way, the business itself is gathering even more data on the shopping habits of their customer. This kind of data is like gold dust for retailers – including everything from the way a customer moves through the store, to when they visit and how long for, to in-store versus online habits, to the effectiveness of visual merchandising, and so on.
Capturing such information helps with decision-making, meaning retail businesses can improve the service and experience they deliver to customers down the line. In the ideal scenario, customers will be so impressed with the enhanced in-store experience that they’ll feel motivated to tell their friends and family about it, becoming brand ambassadors by default.
Ultimately, using customer WiFi to created hyper-connected shops is a chance for retailers to bring the in-store experience in line with the online one, delivering the ultimate in seamless, cross-channel brand experience. In revenue terms, it reduces the risk of abandoned purchases and improves in-store conversion rates. Which should be music to the ears of your retail customers.
Underpinning in-store WiFi with reliable data services
As in any business, having a robust data network to support operations and communications is key for retailers – and their physical retail stores should be no exception. To create the connected stores that will help deliver a complete brand experience, retailers should be partnering with a provider that can deliver business-only broadband. Better still, a broadband offering that comes with competitive SLAs and 24/7 support, helping them to deliver that top-notch customer experience consistently.
By setting your customers up to install this, you’re empowering them to deliver a fully connected, seamless experience across every retail touch-point. Helping them to stay constantly connected with their customers in a world where connectivity is key to building trust and loyalty.
12 November 2018 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.