A recent study from Yankee Group found that 96% of consumers prefer stores that offer free WiFi and 78% of shoppers would access WiFi if it were offered in store. This indicates how important it is for retail centres to provide fast connectivity. To ensure your customers receive the best service, there are a variety of things you need to do, such as checking that your retail WiFi supplier is up to date and offering customers the fastest speeds.
Here are four things for systems integrators to check to make sure your WiFi supplier is still up to date:
- Does the Supplier Meet the Shoppers’ Needs?
- Does the Supplier Meet the Retail Centre’s Needs?
- Can the Supplier Support all the Shoppers the Centre Attracts?
- Does the Supplier Offer the Required Support?
1. Does the Supplier Meet the Shoppers’ Needs?
Shoppers’ needs are paramount. Whether they want to connect with friends and family, conduct product research or find out where their favourite shops are, a retail centre’s WiFi solution should engage shoppers and help improve their overall shopping experience.
To do this, you’ll need to consider what the retail centre’s goals are and how the WiFi solution’s features will help fulfil them.
An internet-based engagement platform, unique to the retail centre, provides shoppers with all the information they need to know. This can range from store information (such as location and opening hours) to advertisements, updates about events at the venue and loyalty schemes. The shopper can access all of this information from their device via the platform.
The benefits of this are two-fold, providing greater convenience and, in turn, boosting shopper engagement.
It's convenient for both the shoppers and retail centre staff. For shoppers, it means they can make the best use of the available facilities without queuing up at help desks. All they need to do is use the platform via their phones.
For staff, it means they’re less likely to be disturbed from their daily tasks due to shoppers requiring assistance. This boosts productivity and improves the shopping environment in the centre for all.
It also helps boost engagement by allowing shoppers to enjoy a fully branded experience as soon as they enter the retail centre.
Not only will shoppers see the retail centre’s signs outside and inside the space but they’ll also be met with identical branding each time they use their device inside the precinct. As such, a good WiFi supplier helps ensure the centre’s branding stays at the front of the shopper’s mind.
Customers will receive relevant, timely messages as they shop and even a ‘welcome back’ message if the WiFi recognises the device, creating a greater, more personal shopping experience.
Another important feature is content filtering. As retail centres are public spaces where people of all ages can visit, the WiFi should be family-friendly and offer filtering options to prohibit access to inappropriate content. This will help to keep visitors safe, especially children.
2. Does the Supplier Meet the Retail Centre’s Needs?
If a retail centre is to keep delighting its customers and visitors, enticing them to return, they’ll need to know more about them and improve the quality of their services. With people’s whims constantly changing, it can be hard to keep track of what customers want. The right WiFi solution can help with this.
The WiFi supplier should provide insightful analytics directly to the retail centre to help them improve the quality of their services. Not all WiFi suppliers collect data like this and allow retail centres to own it, so you must look for one that does. After all, collecting customer data can help landlords and property companies boost their ROI.
For example, anonymous information on shopper behaviours, entry and exit points, most popular zones and the busiest footfall times can help a retail centre tailor their services more closely to their customers’ needs.
Better tailored services increase the likelihood of a happy customer and encourage customer loyalty, producing satisfied, devoted customers that are likely to spend more in the long run.
Retail centres should also be able to add and authenticate WiFi users, both new and returning, against their loyalty database. This can help strengthen their loyalty programmes as it means the retail centre can see when users are new or returning. As a result, they can begin to display promotional messages and other marketing material to entice shoppers to return and/or spend more.
Understanding purchasing habits can also help a retail centre increase how much its customers spend. For instance, the centre can display banner adverts on their personalised engagement platform which are more likely to interest customers and make them want to spend more. Alternatively, knowing where visitors gather in the retail centre allows retailers to know where to place appropriate adverts such as posters about promotions or sales.
The best WiFi suppliers provide even more specific data such as the distance customers have travelled to visit a retail centre, always making sure they remain GDPR compliant while abstracting data that can give the most insight.
This data can be automatically sent to the retail centre’s CRM and they can use it to see exactly how far they need to reach with their outdoor and social marketing campaigns. With expert WiFi suppliers, there’s no need to guess.
3. Can the Supplier Support all the Shoppers the Centre Attracts?
The chosen WiFi supplier needs to be able to support all of the shoppers the retail centre attracts and more. Just like WiFi at home, if more people use the WiFi than the connection can handle, it can considerably slow down connection speeds. So, it’s important the WiFi supplier can grow with the retail centre.
There should be a range of flexible packages to suit a variety of retail centre sizes, so you won’t have to keep changing WiFi suppliers every time the business expands in size or popularity.
Your solution should also be scalable from the get-go and you should consider this when implementing a solution. Similar to kids' school uniforms, you usually buy the outfit to last them the year; you wouldn’t buy them tightly fitted shoes that they would outgrow in the next few months.
Scalable in terms of a WiFi network means being able to add on additional access points, such as if the store expands or you’re expecting an increase in visitors over time.
It’s also helpful if the WiFi supplier can provide insightful data into the retail centre’s visitors. Although it’s anonymous, it’s still possible to generate an idea of how many people visit the centre on a daily, monthly or annual basis, as well as where they congregate and for how long.
Data like this can be analysed alongside other data sets the retailer may have, which can be fed into the same analytics engine. Data such as sales data and seasonal trends coupled with the WiFi analytics will help to build a complete view of shoppers and act as a method of prediction when scaling the WiFi.
4. Does the Supplier Offer the Required Support?
Setting up WiFi in a large venue setting, such as a retail space, can be a tricky process - especially if you aren't an expert on what to do. That’s why you need to ensure your chosen WiFi supplier consistently provides sufficient support, tools and features. Don’t just look for easy configuration. Make sure the supplier can provide you and the retail centre with simple but thorough guidance throughout the whole process.
In addition, check if the WiFi supplier can provide 24/7 support that lasts for the entirety of the contract. Retail centres can experience WiFi issues at any time and require support from hours after setting it up to years later.
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