WIRELESS NETWORKS ARE ENHANCING THE SHOPPER EXPERIENCE
As a retailer, you’re in the midst of a technological revolution that is transforming the business of selling products and goods. The new retailing model — the connected shopper’s ability to shop online and in-store often with the assistance of a smart device is largely based on technology; specifically, wireless technology.
See below an overview of each of the trends that are essential for retailers to consider when searching for ways to leverage their wireless networks to deliver compelling experiences for connected shoppers.
INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE ACCESS
When a connected shopper can’t get a connection in the store, retailers are in danger of losing more than just that sale. They’re in danger of losing loyal shoppers. In today’s connected world, it’s difficult to deliver an exciting, satisfying shopping experience without Internet access. But delivering that Internet access can be challenging.
A college student shops for a new outfit at a department store. She tries on a number of things and wants the opinions of her friends. She uses her smartphone to take photos of herself and prepares to tweet them to her friends. But the department she’s shopping in is located in a section of the store that doesn’t have good cellular coverage, so she can’t connect to the Internet. Disappointed, she eventually leaves the store without making a purchase.
ENABLING PERSONALIZATION THROUGH ANALYTICS
As the retail industry searches for solutions to its challenges, a growing relationship is emerging between IT and marketing. It’s a relationship facilitated in large part by wireless networking. Even more specifically, it’s reliant upon gathering information and providing analysis that will make true one-to-one selling possible.
A member of a grocery store’s loyalty program shops twice a week, usually on Monday and Thursday mornings. She almost always buys fresh produce, and thanks to the information gathered from its Wi-Fi network, the store knows her tendencies. On Wednesday afternoon, the store pushes an e-coupon to her smartphone offering a special price on a new salad dressing the store has begun to carry. On Thursday, the shopper uses the coupon, purchasing the new salad dressing and increasing her basket size.
EMERGENCE OF LOCATIONING
Location, location, location. This old real estate adage has become one of the fundamental principles of multichannel wireless retailing. Where the customer is located at any given time inside or outside your store matters.
A bookstore’s network detects a customer’s smartphone, and notifies the store that the customer is in the shopping mall parking lot. Does he plan to visit the store? The network can make that more likely. The information shows that the person regularly purchases mystery novels by a specific author. Before he even enters the building, the store can send a message telling him that the author’s new book is in stock, and offer a 25% off coupon for today only. Pleased by the store’s offer, the customer is driven to visit and the store makes a sale sooner than it might have otherwise.
DIFFERENTIATING THE SALES EXPERIENCE
When the customer makes a decision, the associate uses her handheld reader to accept the customer’s credit card payment on the spot. The sale is made, the customer is pleased, the wireless network applications performed flawlessly.
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An in-store video surveillance camera in a large wine store shows a customer examining selections in the premium wine section. Through the store’s Wi-Fi network, a sales associate is alerted and, equipped with a wireless tablet, arrives to offer personalized assistance. The customer asks a number of questions, such as the wine’s rating and the vintner’s history, which the associate is able to quickly look up on her tablet. The customer mentions she wants a wine to go with a rack of lamb, and the associate makes additional suggestions.