Wi-Fi has quickly become a massive player in our mobile-first world. Whether we’re at home, work, traveling or shopping, Wi-Fi serves as a lifeline between consumers and internet access. And for international travelers, this often is the only way to stay connected and communicate with friends and family.
Revolutionized by the internet and driven by consumer demand, the retail industry has undergone a massive sea change in recent years. Consumers expect a seamless shopping experience whether they’re in-store or online. This has many brands scrambling to put an omnichannel strategy in place to stay relevant and competitive. The evolution doesn’t stop there, however. Retailers have also transferred many mission critical activities to the cloud to run their stores more efficiently and stay agile.
A big reason retail brands are winning today is because of in-store Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there are still some retailers that don’t believe it’s a necessity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In-store Wi-Fi should be the new normal, and rolling it out becomes a major liability.
Retailers need to think of Wi-Fi as more than just a complimentary piece to the customer shopping experience, but essential in empowering their employees, too.
Win Over Your Customers
Shoppers believe internet access is vital to the in-store shopping experience, and they’re not wrong. More than 90 percent of consumers shop with their smartphone to look up product information, check prices, and stay informed. A simple way to provide mobile customers with a seamless, in-store shopping experience is with Wi-Fi. However, in the Mobile Retail Report, NewStore discovered only 38 percent of retailers provide public Wi-Fi access to their customers.
Asking shoppers rely on their mobile provider's network, instead of in-store Wi-Fi, is a big missed opportunity. Wi-Fi provides a consistent connection for shoppers to rely on to enjoy a seamless mobile experience. With easy and convenient access to an internet connection, shoppers are more likely to engage on your mobile website or native app in-store, which leads to higher conversion rates, driving foot traffic, increased customer retention and spending.
Putting Wi-Fi to Work
In addition to public Wi-Fi, an increasing number of retail brands are rolling out employee-only networks in-store. These “behind the counter Wi-Fi” connections are password protected and available only for retail store employees. More importantly, they’re in place to help modernize store operations and drive new initiatives in today’s mobile-first world.
To cut through the noise and reach customers today, retail selling demands a more personalized and dynamic approach. Consumers expect it. Private Wi-Fi networks are helping retailers support new sales approaches like clienteling. Sales associates are being empowered by a plethora of information available via their smartphones that helps them understand their customers better with increased visibility into their preferences and purchase history. Further, they’re able to instantly check inventory availability and fulfill orders instantly on the showroom floor by shipping items from a different store or distribution center if it isn’t available in that given store.
Providing a fantastic mobile experience should be the standard. Whether it’s public or behind the counter Wi-Fi. For your customers or for your employees. Wi-Fi is a key in building a winning mobile and omnichannel strategy. Yes, this can be a timely and expensive venture but worth every penny and minute of planning.
To learn more about how Wi-Fi is helping retailers stay relevant, agile, and competitive, download our paper, The Case for “Behind the Counter Wi-Fi” in Stores.