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Why Slow Retail WiFi is Leaving Money on the Table

WiFi changed the face of many industries, including the retail sector. Despite this, some businesses believe providing free WiFi isn’t worth the expense and may even distract shoppers. With most shoppers walking around with their smartphones in their hands, expecting quick, easy access to the internet, the opposite could not be more true. Here’s why slow or no retail WiFi can turn shoppers away without spending money or even discourage repeat custom.

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As we venture further into the digital era, people are wanting shopping experiences that are increasingly more tailored and ‘smart’ in nature. No or slow connectivity can:

 

  • Leave shoppers unsatisfied because they expect WiFi and they haven’t got it
  • Prevent businesses from understanding their shoppers in more depth
  • Hinder advertising opportunities
  • Prevent businesses from embracing other technologies which might enhance the shopping experience

 

Leave Shoppers Unsatisfied because They Expect WiFi and They Haven’t Got It

 

A 2017 retail report found that just under half (46 percent) of shoppers expect shops to offer free WiFi and one in five think technology like this will provide a more tailored shopping experience. This is backed up by a YouGov report that found, of all technology that will make consumers more likely to choose a retailer, free WiFi is the most likely.

 

The reality is, WiFi is no longer a nicety. It’s now a necessity - especially in retail.

 

Shoppers want to be able to conduct product research on their devices, whether it’s comparing prices or reading reviews, while physically in-store. They want to be able to access social media while they shop.

 

These capabilities may seem like distractions but on the contrary, they can actually help people stay in stores for longer and increases the chance they will buy something. As well as this, WiFi can encourage people to engage with stores via social media. For example, shoppers may tweet or post images of products on Instagram and tag the retailer’s social media handle, which boosts brand exposure.

 

Slow or a lack of connectivity obviously hinders that.

 

Prevent Businesses from Understanding Their Shoppers in More Depth

 

WiFi doesn’t just provide benefits for shoppers. It can also provide businesses with valuable data on their customers. From analytics on shopper behaviour to purchasing habits, this insight increases your understanding of the customers that frequent your retail space.

 

This means retail businesses like yours can tailor stores to match customers’ preferences, which enhances their shopping experience and makes it more likely for them to buy something. For example, you can leverage real-time data on shopper activity to design your retail space layout and offerings more strategically.

 

WiFi analytics can help you organise your workforce more efficiently too. For example, data that reveals when the busiest footfall times are can be cross checked against transaction times to give you an idea of how staff can be better implemented to increase customer assistance and sales, respectively. As customer requests can be solved more quickly as a result of this, you’ll also boost shopper satisfaction, loyalty and the chance they will return.

 

Without retail WiFi, you cannot access this level of insight as easily.

 

Hinder Advertising Opportunities

 

Owning your WiFi offering allows you to access valuable insight into shopper behaviour and preferences - as we discussed in the point above. When you know what shoppers like to do, where they like to meet and what they like to buy, you can advertise to them more effectively.

 

An engagement portal allows you to find new advertising opportunities to present to guests when they log into your network. When you know what they like, you can show promotions that are relevant and tailored to them - ads that shoppers are more likely to be interested in. This can boost shopper loyalty.

 

As well as this, businesses can buy advertising space on your portal. This generates additional revenue.

 

Without retail WiFi or a customised engagement portal, all of this becomes much harder to do.

 

Prevent Businesses from Embracing Other Technologies Which Might Enhance the Shopping Experience

 

WiFi can open the door for a number of other technological advancements, which retailers can take advantage of to enhance the shopping experience. For example, mobile point of sale and other mobile client solutions allow sales assistants to serve customers wherever they are in the store. They no longer need to be taken back and forth from the till, which is convenient for both the shopper and the staff member.  

 

This extends to the overall retail space. Retail staff, from sales assistants to customer service, can carry tablets which allow them to resolve customer requests and queries wherever they might be in the shopping centre or retail space. Again, this is much more convenient for both the shopper and the staff member.

 

An engagement portal allows shoppers to access any information they want to know about the retail space without needing to find a staff member to help them. For example, retail spaces tend to be large areas and shoppers can easily get lost. Rather than needing to find a customer service stand, consulting a map or giving up and leaving, shoppers can access a digital map and navigate by themselves.

 

These features mean that WiFi helps create a much more seamless shopping experience for consumers and is convenient for staff, allowing them to focus on other important retail-related tasks.

 

Find Out More About What Retail WiFi Brings to Your Business Space

 

Retail is always evolving and now it seems WiFi is at the forefront of the next wave of change. People are craving shopping experiences that are increasingly more tailored and ‘smart’ in nature. WiFi can help with that.

 

That’s why a slow or lack of connectivity can actually discourage people from shopping at that particular shop.

 

For more information on retail WiFi and what it can bring to your business space, regardless of its size, download a copy of our Retail Case Study.

 

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Claire Bradley

Claire Bradley

Claire Bradley

Claire is a strategic marketer with over 10 years’ experience of managing market-leading brands. She is a collaborative and customer-focused marketer with a proven track record of driving growth and share. She is responsible for the marketing strategy and brand communications for WiFi SPARK.