By Sreekanth Kannan, Senior Marketing Manager, Aerohive Networks
As more and more consumers prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes or even on-the-go with their mobile devices, brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to lure shoppers into their stores and to get them to purchase. Technological advances have triggered this sea change in the retail industry and physical retailers have come to see e-tailers as an undeniable threat, fearing that shoppers comparing products online will walk out empty-handed. But instead of resisting the tide of change, traditional retailers must realize that only by embracing and integrating Wi-Fi technology in their stores will they be able to stay ahead of the curve.
Let’s take a look at the top five ways stores can leverage Wi-Fi technology to turn the mobile trend into one that gets shoppers to the checkout line:
Today, the mobile trend has reached a tipping point. Depending on the store and customer demographics, typically 40 to 70% of all store visitors at any time are carrying a phone with Wi-Fi that can be measured.
Offering free guest Wi-Fi provides shoppers an incentive to stay longer in stores by enabling more informed shopping. But more importantly, with analytics software, retailers can transform in-store Wi-Fi into a consumer analytics tool for optimizing retail operations and maximizing per-store revenue. Actionable shopper insights can be gleaned via in-store analytics and shoppers’ mobile phones, just like the online analytics e-tailers have long leveraged to optimize the customer experience and better target shoppers.
Leveraging wireless networks and analytics software together, retailers can tap into Wi-Fi signals to help stores better understand shopper engagement and in turn make better business decisions. These analytics can help retailers:
- Gain an accurate understanding of total foot traffic inside and around the store.
- Understand how well their window displays are capturing potential shoppers and pulling them in store.
- Identify shopping applications that customers use and collect numbers of walk-by customers, visits, and percentages of people that come inside the store.
- Track visits’ durations and identify shoppers staying longer than 30 minutes to evaluate engagements. This data can in turn be used to tailor the sales process, improve in-store operations and lengthen shoppers’ visits.
- Monitor line lengths, sales associate availability, and wait times to improve service levels.
By leveraging this location-aware technology in tandem with tailored mobile apps, retailers can better target shoppers with on-the-spot information and special promotions specific to their locations. This has the advantage of encouraging more impulse buys with special offers down to a shopper’s aisle location. Geofencing can empower retailers to:
- 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 programs for increasing loyalty.
With Wi-Fi-enabled tablets integrated with PCI-complaint point-of-sale billing applications, retailers are eliminating the traditional checkout lanes in favor of store employees completing the purchase when the customers are amidst the store aisles, enhancing shopper satisfaction and employee efficiency.
Real-Time Product Location
Retailers can allow shoppers to track down products in-store via mobile apps, enabling them to better self-serve and seek out what they need easily and efficiently, while also freeing up employees. By providing Wi-Fi guest access and mobile apps designed to enhance the in-store experience, retailers can empower customers to easily self-serve with product location, aisle navigation, product code scan and product availability.
Though physical retailers have come to despise the practice of showrooming, by offering to match prices, traditional retailers can convert shoppers into buyers.
Many customers like to compare prices on their phones while shopping, but as customers walk towards the middle of any store, data signal on smartphones degrades rapidly. Yet, fearful of losing sales by encouraging product and price comparison, stores have been reluctant to provide guest Wi-Fi.
However, today’s mobile-savvy shoppers want to make informed decisions and are more likely to make immediate purchase decisions in store with more information at hand. By enabling easy price comparison via guest Wi-Fi and subsequent price matching, stores can ensure shoppers purchase.