Free In-​Store Wi-​Fi a Worthy Investment For Retailers

As more and more consumers prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes or even on-​the-​go with their mobile devices, brick-​and-​mortar retailers are struggling to lure shoppers into their stores and to get them to purchase. Many retailers fear that shoppers comparing products online will walk out empty-​handed, however, retailers who embrace technological advances and integrate Wi-​Fi technology in their stores will be able to stay ahead of the curve. mobilephonemulticultural

According to a recent study from Acquity Group, half of all smartphone owners would feel more confident making a major purchase if they had the ability to use free in-​store WiFi to research their purchase. Additionally, 30% of these smartphone owners said they’d be more likely to browse additional items not on their list, and 20% would spend more time in the store.

Offering free guest Wi-​Fi provides shoppers an incentive to stay longer in stores by enabling more informed shopping. But more importantly, with analytics software, retailers can transform in-​store Wi-​Fi into a consumer analytics tool for optimizing retail operations and maximizing per-​store revenue.

ADVANTAGES OF IN-​STORE WI-FI

MOBILE CHECKOUT:  With Wi-​Fi-​enabled tablets integrated with PCI-​complaint point-​of-​sale billing applications, retailers are eliminating the traditional checkout lanes in favor of store employees completing the purchase when the customers are amidst the store aisles, enhancing shopper satisfaction and employee efficiency.

REAL-​TIME PRODUCT LOCATION:  Retailers can allow shoppers to track down products in-​store via mobile apps, enabling them to better self-​serve and seek out what they need easily and efficiently, while also freeing up employees. By providing Wi-​Fi guest access and mobile apps designed to enhance the in-​store experience, retailers can empower customers to easily self-​serve with product location, aisle navigation, product code scan and product availability.  More than three-​quarters (78%) of smartphone owners said they had looked up a retailer’s inventory online prior to visiting a physical store.

PRICE MATCHING:  Though physical retailers have come to despise the practice of showrooming, by offering to match prices, traditional retailers can convert shoppers into buyers.

Many customers like to compare prices on their phones while shopping, but as customers walk towards the middle of any store, data signal on smartphones degrades rapidly. Yet, fearful of losing sales by encouraging product and price comparison, stores have been reluctant to provide guest Wi-Fi.

However, today’s mobile-​savvy shoppers want to make informed decisions and are more likely to make immediate purchase decisions in store with more information at hand. In fact, nearly 60% said they had been influenced to make an in-​store purchase decision after browsing product images and information on a smartphone.  By enabling easy price comparison via guest Wi-​Fi and subsequent price matching, stores can ensure shoppers purchase.

[Source:  Kannan, Sreekanth.  Senior Marketing Manager, Aerohive Networks.  "Using Wi-​Fi to Your Advantage."  Chain Store Age.  18 Oct. 2013.  Web.  5 Nov. 2013; Survey conducted by Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive.  16 Oct. 2013.  Web.  5 Nov. 2013.]