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Hughes-Europe

Member Article

Serving the customer better – the role of instore Wi-Fi

It’s retail focus on Bdaily. Here, Chris O’Dell, vice president of sales and marketing, Hughes Europe, assesses the role of Wi-Fi in driving sales.

Despite continuing concerns over ‘showrooming’, recent studies show that encouraging shoppers to use their smart phones to make price and product comparisons in-store can actually help to drive up sales.

First, it is important to attract mobile-enabled and Internet-savvy customers by putting information at their fingertips, helping them make informed choices. This needs to be linked to the creation of personalised loyalty and reward programmes, to ensure they keep coming back.

In-store Wi-Fi access enables consumers’ online behaviour to be tracked, providing the retailer with a much better understanding of its customer base. As a result, a pool of data can be developed which enables the retailer to provide more personalised targeting. At the same time, Wi-Fi can also facilitate the provision of discounts and other promotional information to customers’ mobile devices.

Integrating in-store Wi-Fi with social media channels will help here, especially when it takes place in a secure, PCI-compliant environment. In the area of customer analytics, by enabling easy guest Wi-Fi access via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts, the retailer can establish detailed customer demographics around age, gender, buying habits and other interests, as well as footfall tracking.

This requires high-quality Wi-Fi access supported by a robust network capable of supporting a complex multi-channel retail environment. Without it, retailers run the risk of customers using their stores only as a showcase for online retailers, who may offer a cheaper price but cannot provide the breadth of value-added services a physical shopping environment can provide.

An integrated Wi-Fi platform backed by a comprehensive managed service can meet this challenge. Former concerns over connectivity and bandwidth have now been overcome, which means that retailers can benefit from social media technologies, yet still maintain the highest levels of data security in terms of both detection and prevention.

This transforms in-store Wi-Fi from a business cost to one which actively supports service quality improvement, by providing the intelligence needed to create more targeted and personalised marketing programmes.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Hughes-Europe .

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