In the face of growing competition, retailers have to decide if they will offer WiFi to their customers. It is a decision that almost every retail business owner will consider in the near future. Shoppers are already using their mobile devices to get price comparisons and product reviews while browsing store isles. It is safe to say that shoppers are not going to change these habits, no matter how distasteful they may be to store owners. The question becomes, not whether to offer retail WiFi, but when to begin offering in-store WiFi</em> and start benefiting from shoppers’ habits.
In a 2010 study by the IHL Group, 41% of shoppers reported that they checked competitors’ prices online while shopping in a store, a practice known as showrooming. The number of shoppers who regularly engage in showrooming will only continue to increase as the number of websites and apps dedicated to product pricing continues to grow. Well-informed retailers can take advantage of this behavior and make it easier for shoppers to access this data through the stores own WiFi network.
In the competitive world of retail sales, every one knows that data is king. The more that stores know about their shoppers habits, the better they can tailor their pricing and marketing to entice those shoppers to buy their store’s products. By allowing shoppers to do their comparisons right from the WiFi network, a store can use specialized marketing analytics software to gain insight about the products and information that the customers are researching. An entirely new opportunity to market directly to customers while they are shopping is beginning to emerge. Stores can use the captured data from their analytics software and then offer the shopper coupons and discounts for those products that customers are researching. According to Chain Store Age, shoppers are already 6% more likely to make a purchase in-store if they access the data in-store. Add to that a more interactive experience, and it is a completely new way to market directly to those shoppers that are the most likely to buy a particular product.
What to Consider When Planning a Retail WiFi Network
Retailers have generally been reluctant to add WiFi as a service for their shoppers for a variety of reasons. The most significant is the complexity of determining what demands will be placed on the WiFi network, and how to build the network to meet those demands. According to the retail consultant Bain & Co, a new retail WiFi network deployment is one of the most difficult and expensive projects for a store’s IT department. Bain & Co. deals primarily with chain stores, however single store operations face many of the same challenges. Retailers need to have a clear understanding of what capacity they will need, and what equipment best suits their physical location. While corporate IT departments are experts on their particular business’ needs, they often do not have the same expertise as WiFi engineers who install WiFi networks every day. A WiFi network that works for both store staff and shoppers requires a thorough knowledge of WiFi networks as well as a broad understanding of the challenges faced when building a WiFi network for retail use.
Deep Blue Communications, one of the most experienced WiFi installation and support companies in North America, can become an invaluable asset to a retail business and their IT department. From making sure that signals are able to reach shoppers, to prioritizing bandwidth usage by traffic type, Deep Blue Communications makes sure that their clients’ WiFi networks meet or exceed their expectations. Installation is only the beginning of maximizing the value of a WiFi network. Retail chains need to ensure that users have a consistent retail WiFi experience at every store, each and every day, so users can rely on the service. That is why Deep Blue Communications has built many cloud based monitoring and reporting tools that allow them to provide real-time snapshots of every location in a simple dashboard. Enabling proactive network management to improve their customers’ networks, all from their New York based network operations center.