WiFi systems integrators are responsible for choosing a WiFi supplier who can provide an intuitive engagement platform that helps to enhance a shopper’s journey through a retail space. But there are things you should do if you want to ensure reliable connectivity for shoppers and provide the retail manager with the valuable analytics they need. Here are some WiFi deployment best practices for retail.
The best practices we’ll be discussing are (just click on the headings to be taken to the relevant section):
Selecting the Right Provider Who Offers the Right Features for the Retail Owner
If you want a smooth deployment, the first thing you need to do is choose the right WiFi provider. There are several factors you need to think about for that, but the most important is choosing a provider whose solutions align with your retail owner’s needs and goals. You need to ask yourself whether these features can:
- Help make the shopping experience even more engaging.
- Integrate with existing loyalty schemes.
- Allow access to valuable analytics.
Can They Help Make the Shopping Experience Even More Engaging?
A good WiFi provider will offer bespoke WiFi solutions for shoppers to connect to so they can enjoy a fully branded experience from the moment they enter the retail centre.
The retail centre is obviously branded internally and externally so shoppers will be aware of the messages and branding. However, as they shop, they may become distracted and the messages can stray to the back of their mind. An engaging WiFi solution is a great way to ensure that the retail brand stays at the front of your shoppers’ minds.
For example, with a personalised WiFi solution, shoppers will be directed to a branded web page when they connect to it. This page will have all of the information that shoppers might want to know about the venue, from the facilities available to promotions, loyalty offers and news of any upcoming events happening at the centre. The WiFi can even recognise their device so returning shoppers can be greeted with a “welcome back” message.
This benefits both shoppers and the retail centre.
From the shopper’s perspective, this means they can stay up to date on any timely promotional messages and offers that they might be interested in. It also means they don’t need to ask customer service for help. They can solve their own problems by themselves, which is more convenient and will improve their overall shopping experience.
From the retail centre’s perspective, this means they have access to valuable insight on their customers’ shopping habits and preferences. This information can then be used to further improve the retail centre’s offerings and their customers’ shopping experiences. We’ll be discussing that in more detail here.
It also means the retail centre’s staff can focus on more vital retail-related tasks instead of constantly answering customer queries. This improves their working productivity, which makes for a better retail environment overall - for both staff and shoppers.
Can They Integrate with Loyalty Schemes?
When it comes to improving a customer’s shopping experience, one of the best ways is to provide a bespoke service. From having a personal shopper to having a private dressing room, a bespoke shopping experience helps people feel special and important. This helps improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The right WiFi vendor will be able to design a solution that offers this kind of experience.
For example, you should look for a solution that can integrate with any existing loyalty schemes run by the retail centre’s businesses. When shoppers connect to the WiFi, they’ll be taken to the retail centre’s web page where they can navigate around to access their loyalty schemes and accounts with various retailers - without needing to search for and open multiple web pages. This creates a much more seamless shopping experience.
Do They Allow Access to Valuable Analytics?
Another important factor to consider when choosing a WiFi provider is to select one that enables you to control your own WiFi service. This means that you also control your own analytical data, as opposed to the third party provider owning it, so you can access it and use it to improve the quality of your marketing and retail services to your shoppers. This is extremely valuable to the retail owner.
The right WiFi provider can give valuable insight into analytics such as shopper behaviour and purchasing habits. Retail owners can then use the data to allocate their resources in a way that best serves their shoppers’ habits and boost their centre’s gains at the same time.
For instance, if retail owners can see how visitors generally move around the shopping centre (via heat maps), additional amenities can be placed to aid their shopping journey. If people tend to meet at a certain point (based on their average dwell times) or travel around the centre in a particular direction, place food and drink vendors in popular areas. Not only will this help improve the shoppers’ moods, but the retail centre can also generate some additional revenue.
Advertisement banners can also appear to customers when they access the WiFi platform. These may be location targeted or appear at certain times, such as during popular periods, and entice customers to continue shopping and stay in the retail centre for longer.
If shoppers are willing for their data to be used, retail owners can access even more specific analytics. For instance, they can see where shoppers have been travelling from and how far they’ve come to shop at the centre. This is useful because owners can see exactly how far they need to reach with their outdoor and social marketing. Being able to see how far shoppers have been travelling takes the guesswork out of this.
Access to analytics like this, regardless of whether they’re specific or anonymous, means retail owners can access benefits of online shopping although they have physical stores. What we mean by this is that on shopping websites, retailers have access to data such as dwell times on certain pages and where shoppers tend to click. A WiFi solution that offers the retail owner in depth analytics means they can access similar benefits.
For example, movement analytics can indicate where people tend to enter, exit, dwell and move around in the retail centre. Additionally, WiFi data can provide insight into returning shopper habits, such as how often they return and when, as well as comparing their stats with new user habits.
Taking the Sales Discussion Process Seriously
It’s vital you choose the right provider but you also need to actually take the sales discussion process seriously. Ensure that you’re clear about what the retail centre wants and aren’t just choosing a WiFi vendor who is seemingly promising the world.
A premium retail WiFi solution is about more than one product (connectivity), but you don’t need to invest in unnecessary products that will drain resources more than they provide benefits. Only invest in the ones the retail centre needs.
For example, an ideal WiFi vendor should provide valuable analytics into visitor behaviour, such as shopping habits and when the busiest times are. These are essential because although this data will be anonymous, they will give an idea of how to allocate resources to best serve the shoppers.
Does the WiFi provider offer a range of solutions and do they match your requirements? For example, your chosen solution needs to be robust enough to handle a significant number of users and the various digital activities they might want to do, such as checking emails, going on social media and streaming music.
Remember - don’t pick the first free vendor or paid solution you’re offered, because it might be full of unessential features. This could lead to it exceeding the budget or not very cost-effective. Or you could be missing out on a whole world of insight and data.
Seeking Expert Advice
If you want smooth WiFi deployment, the provider should supply you with full support, guidance and expert advice throughout your process. In the beginning, they should advise you on which WiFi solution is best for your needs, rather than their own needs (such as for their own monetary gain). And even after installation, the provider should be available for any potential issues that may occur.
The ideal WiFi solution should be easy to manage effectively and any issues that may occur should be dealt with quickly and easily. The provider’s customer service should be available to offer full support, advice and troubleshooting guidance.
Choosing a WiFi Vendor Who Can Adapt and Innovate Their Solutions Even After You’ve Chosen Them
Planning for WiFi deployment never stops, even after it’s been installed. This is because things are always changing, whether it’s users having higher expectations than before or wireless connectivity, in general, that’s evolving. In order to keep up with this, you need to make sure the WiFi vendor can update the solution to meet changing demands from the retail space even after they’ve been chosen.
All shoppers now own internet-enabled devices and expect connectivity wherever they are, but certain factors such as mobile data caps and signal loss can disconnect them. This is where WiFi steps in. But it’s important that you follow best practices to ensure that WiFi deployment goes as smoothly as possible.
A Brief Recap: Do Shops Really Need Public WiFi?
Yes, WiFi can really boost a consumer’s shopping experience. It sets off a chain reaction of activities including increasing shopper satisfaction, purchasing more items or services, improving loyalty, increasing brand awareness and much more.
The coming-of-age of Generation Z and the fact that 83 percent of shoppers carry their smartphones around while shopping just proves that people want to be able to access the internet while they shop, whether it’s for comparing prices or posting product photos on social media. This greatly enhances their shopping experience.
As well as this, large retail spaces can affect mobile data and a phone’s signal, making it patchy, but WiFi allows for constant connectivity. If WiFi isn’t prioritised, it’s similar to not accepting card payments - retailers are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with shoppers.
But certain factors can affect your WiFi service:
- Poor planning.
- Poor end user experience.
- Increased troubleshooting to the provider.
- A WiFi experience that doesn’t meet a business’s needs.
That’s why it’s not just about providing WiFi to shoppers. You also need to follow best practices to ensure you’re deploying the WiFi solution in the best way possible.
Interested in Finding Out More About the Benefits of Retail WiFi?
Retail WiFi can benefit a shopping space in a variety of ways. Download a free copy of our Retail Case Study for more information on what it can bring to the sector.