With emerging mobile technologies progressively sustaining the lucrative online market, retailers are scrambling to increase investments in support of the growing online demand.
While this is evidently the new universal course of action, especially with the need to focus limited resources towards the direction of what will most likely yield the most revenue, the truth is neglecting the in-store experience will actually cause more harm than good both in terms of revenue and the customer experience.
Shoppers want to buy online but they also want the same kind of experience while shopping inside your physical stores. They want a seamless multi-channel experience that extends the online world from their screens to the real world.
Keep in mind that brick-and-mortar isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. In fact, for some businesses the sales generated in-store still makeup a huge bulk of their total revenue, for some almost 98%.
To make the most of your online and in-store presence, the intersecting points of e-commerce and in-store shopping will need to seamlessly complement and add value to each another.
Otherwise, you’re essentially pitting two of you’re profit-making ventures against each other; and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who really loses here.
The challenge now for retailers is to replicate the brand and/or customer experience from your online and mobile channels to your brick and mortar operations by allowing the in-store experience to evolve and adapt by leveraging new intelligent retail Wi-Fi technologies.
These are things like customized in-store smartphone apps, beacons, sensor-enabled objects/devices, the IoT, big data analytics and robust wireless infrastructures.
To help you improve the customer experience through intelligent networking, we’ve highlighted 4 ways to help get you started.
Create an Omni-Channel Experience
Instead of keeping your online and physical store strategies isolated, you should focus on connecting them together. The goal is to blend their strengths and enable them to support each other where they fall short.
The goal is to bring your physical in-store experience into the digital or mobile age, this means allowing your customers to connect with your store via their mobile device before they come in, while they're shopping and also once they've left.
One way to do this is with location-based services such as beacons. Pairing beacons with a smartphone app would allow you to do what the online world has been doing for quite some time, measure, track, test learn and engage.
With this new approach you can offer your customers personalized offers at the point of sale.
For example, if a customer has opted in to your smartphone app, using beacons you can know based on location that they are looking at jeans and also know based on their history that they looked at jeans online. At that exact moment you can then offer them a special offer for those jeans.
Now that's contextual networking at it's best.
Through things like the internet of things and big-data, the once separate worlds of online and in-store are finally becoming one.
Suggested Reading - "How to Design Better Contextual Wi-Fi Experiences Using Beacons"
Consistent Channel Pricing with Promo Offers
One of the biggest pet peeves of customers is finding out that online prices differ from store prices. Now, this doesn’t mean that every customer should pay the same price but the shelf price point should be the same across all channels.
You can however, enable customers looking to increase the value of their purchase by opting for promotional offers or personalized deals.
Using beacons to beam offers or coupons to mobile devices when a customer enters the shop is a great way to create an interactive digital in-store experience.
Use Big Data to Gain Insights
Here's a fun fact, according to IBM, 90% of the world's data has been created over the last two years.
While this may be true, what's the point?
The point is that because of mobile data is now everywhere and it will be the most important natural resource of today's and tomorrow's generations.
Big-data impacts retail in numerous ways but at it's core is the ability to better understand your customers and through that understanding gain a competitive advantage over your competition.
With the right strategy in place you can gather actionable data that will in-turn allow you to make smarter and faster decisions.
This will improve not only the customer experience, but also your staff's productivity and your store's overall efficiency, which will equal increased revenue and new opportunities.
The technology you need to make this happen now exists, however, it's not just one thing but rather a system of moving parts collaborating and working together.
Keeping Up with Always-On Connectivity Demands
A thriving business today complements and supports the mobile device driven needs of it's customers. This means having free in-store retail wifi access, integrated online shopping and service options, as well as a valuable (helpful) social media presence.
In order to offer your customers this new type of experience as well as for your organization to gain the advantages of doing so it all comes down to your wireless.
As we stated above it's not one thing but a system of moving parts and that system sits on your wireless foundation or infrastructure.
If your customers can't get online while at your physical locations then your sunk before you even got started.
All of the cool things you want to do from beacons to sensors and analytics, personalized offers and so on all depends on the success of your wireless.
Today's customer expectations have changed; the reason you're promoting the use of mobile devices and a more seamless "digital" experience ins't because its the nice thing to do, it's because this is what your customers want.
It’s easy to get swept away by technology but you have to base your digital efforts on your customers’ propensity for it. In other words you need to shape your networking strategy around what your consumers want.
There are so many options on what you can do with wireless today and so many amazing advantages that comes with them. The two biggest benefits are number one a more enjoyable customer experience and the acquisition of powerful analytics that will help drive future decisions and future experiences.
Think of it like a big cycle; you need to create a better experience so you support what your customers want and put new wireless technology and smart machines in place. These new systems create a better experience for your customers and in-turn drive revenue for you.
Next you get actionable data about your customers behaviors that again starts the cycle over by allowing you to fine tune your processes, products and the experience once again.
Suggested Reading - "How to Make Your Competition Irrelevant Using Beacons"
More and more retailers are seeing the value of providing an engaging technology experience for customers, elevated by visually captivating in-store and mobile content. The dynamic combination creates an interactive and personal experience customers will remember.
Like most things in wireless, your goals will dictate what you need to actually make all of this a reality. The technology is there you just have to figure out how to leverage it's potential.
To learn more about preparing you retail wireless network to support your digital transition and changing customer expectations and needs, simply contact us here.