Spring has certainly sprung in the UK and many high street retailers will be looking ahead to how they might refresh and renew their offering to entice customers.
The pressure remains high for bricks-and-mortar retailers as well as online brands following a challenging previous year of sales and increased competition. Over the festive period high street brands overall saw store sales drop by 1.9 percent in December for the sixth year running and there was a surprise profit warning from ecommerce leader Asos.
With consumer confidence at its lowest in five years, nothing is certain for retailers in 2019.
The high street is at a turning point and stores must adapt to reflect shoppers’ changing tastes and habits in the digital age. Offline and online shopping have their unique challenges, yet incorporating cutting-edge WiFi connectivity and analytics in-store is a simple, powerful, and cost-effective way for retailers to maximise the benefits of both channels.
WiFi connectivity enables retailers to revitalise their store by taking it online and delivering the ultimate best-of-both shopping experience which adds personalised value for today’s consumers.
A straightforward shopping experience
It is time to spring clean the in-store experience for customers who prefer simplicity and effortlessness over busy department stores. With no time to waste, busy shoppers will appreciate in-store WiFi to quickly browse the retailer’s online site for more product information or perhaps order a product which is out of stock in-store.
Connectivity is also important for customers to access order details if they have chosen a click-and-collect service, whilst WiFi supported messaging services allow shoppers to quickly communicate and get opinions from friends and family. Spring means new product launches and promotions and it can be a challenge for retailers to drive sales. Therefore, to attract modern time-pressed customers, the physical shopping experience has to be quick and effective.
Seventy-one percent of shoppers say they use mobile in-store, with 83 percent in the 18-44 age bracket, confirming that mobile is a key platform for engagement between retailers and customers and providing a robust connection will help drive customers into your shop. WiFi makes it easier for shoppers to log into mobile apps and consult the latest offers or perhaps the Wishlist they made at home.
Retailers should not forget that their ecommerce site works in tandem with their store and this is never more important given the current cross-channel competition. Maximising your WiFi means increased sales volume across digital and physical channels and increased customer engagement.
Shoppers increasingly prefer a self-service approach in retail and WiFi connectivity provides the ease and flexibility to browse from their smartphone. Simple digital tools such as in-store WiFi enabled tablets for self-service help customers to access whatever they might need whilst shopping and saves them time.
New consumer tastes deliver deals and discounts
Consumer confidence is struggling amidst economic uncertainty and retailers need to energise their services with something customers can trust, which is where providing value for money becomes critical.
We are a nation of increasingly savvy shoppers, scouting the best discount codes and promotions to lower the costs. For instance, while Barclaycard saw a 20 percent increase in the number of transactions over Black Friday from 2017, the amount spent dropped by 12 percent. Retailers can deliver competitive prices, which is especially important for today’s customers, and make promotions as accessible as possible by promoting their discounts as soon as customers walk in store via their WiFi’s fully-branded User Experience.
Greeting the user with the latest news and promotions once they log into the WiFi User Experience will increase the likelihood of sales and impulse buys, whilst also creating a more personalised experience. As one of the key consumer trends, personalisation helps to strengthen the brand-customer connection and drive customer loyalty.
Although retailers are struggling, the high streets are still crowded with options for shoppers, twice as many as need be according to one report, and retailers will want to ensure customers choose their store above others. Maintaining loyalty is critical for high customer retention and stores might consider loyalty programmes and incentives integrated directly via the WiFi or available on apps which can be accessed via in-store connectivity. The best loyalty programmes will use multiple methods to encourage users to shop with your brand again and again.
Get to know your customers in 2019
Seamless WiFi connectivity is a great incentive for customers, but it can also enhance your understanding of what customers want thanks to advanced WiFi analytics. The identity of the modern shopper is changing. Today’s consumers are heavily influenced by brand experience and stores which offer memorable experiences, whilst less disposable income means customers want well-priced, quality products. Any insights on how customers engage with your store will help brands to meet expectations.
WiFi analytics reveals data such as how many people enter your store, their average dwell time, which department sees highest footfall and the most popular marketing subscriptions, insights which can influence store layout and targeted promotions to better serve the customer. Data analysis can make a great difference for retailers and enable them to provide a more competitive service.
The way shoppers browse and spend is always changing according to the time of the year and continually analysing insights on how customers interact in-store will help retailers to improve the Customer Experience and how they relate to their customers straight away.
Shoppers’ brand expectations are increasing at a rapid pace, with cutting-edge WiFi high-street stores can not only deliver the mobile connectivity which customers demand but also have a detailed view as to what customers will want next and why.
In the current dog-eat-dog climate of the high street, where competition for increased footfall is rife, ignoring the potential benefits of digital connectivity could sound the death knell for many businesses commercially speaking which is why they need to act now to avoid being a casualty.