How many times have you asked for the Wi-Fi connection code? In todays world, it has become norm to be connected with friends and family at all times; share pictures and opinions about experiences as and when they are happening, read the latest news or download the latest app, whenever, wherever you are, it has become the custom to have access to the internet.
When leaving the house most people take their keys, purse, and mobile phone as the essentials – 4.77 billion people worldwide are predicted to be a mobile phone user by the end of 2017.
With the mobile developments allowing consumers to be online 24/7 with 3G and 4G built into their devices; shopping centres, retailers, restaurants, venues and airports should all be using this opportunity to connect and engage with consumers.
Some people may think ‘why do we need Wi-Fi if consumers can use data on their phone?’ But, offering Wi-Fi to consumers not only delivers on consumers expectations (as Wi-Fi availability in recent years is no longer a luxury but ordinary), but also opens numerous opportunities to connect with consumers.
Having Wi-Fi in a scheme has become an essential offering. John Lewis was the first UK department store to offer Wi-Fi in 2011; which was quickly followed by others, such as House of Fraser and Debenhams.
AirAngel wifi conducted a survey which found Wi-Fi increases foot-traffic, dwell time and repeat custom by 70%.
Wi-Fi helps the customer with self service and mobile payments, and also improves in-store staff productivity. In many venues, stores or centres, staff can be seen equipped with an i-pad, allowing them quick information on stock and also to complete transactions anywhere in-store which reduces consumer wait time and makes the consumer experience seamless.
Wi-Fi is an excellent easy way to collect consumer data. This data can be utilised in numerous different ways. If the Wi-Fi is accessed through a social media login, the retailer or venue operator instantly receives access to the name, email address, age etc. of their consumers. Wi-Fi can track the consumer path around the store, which can be utilised to enhance the visual merchandising to appeal to the shopper. If this data is analysed thoroughly; shopping habits, number of visits and previous purchases can be captured. This information helps retailers build a more specific consumer profile allowing personal and targeted communication strategies to be implemented.
Wi-Fi also allows you to use Beacon technology which offers the opportunity to send a message to consumers when they are close to the store to lure them in, for example sending a promotional offer or a picture of new stock.
Wi-Fi does have challenges as it allows consumer’s to instantly compare competitor’s prices, promotions and products. However, it also allows you to promote your business, new products or upcoming events, create much more personal consumer strategies and ultimately improve the consumer experience, encouraging them to re-visit.
Kat Whitehead, Marketing & Operations, Foundation Recruitment