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What Retailers Don’t Get About Customers

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What Retailers Don’t Get About Customers and Why Guest Wi-Fi Can Help

What would you think if someone told you that retailers insist on doing things their customers want the least, while missing out the things their customers want the most? This back-to-front situation is one of the conclusions in a recent survey from Forrester Consulting about where “bricks and mortar” retailers need to head today, in order to still be around tomorrow. There’s good news and bad news in the report. Encouragingly, Forrester sees physical retail as continuing to be essential in the buyer experience. On the other hand, although service will be at the heart of that buyer experience, the report finds that retailers don’t yet “get” shopper needs.

The Need for Basic Gap Analysis
So where should retailers start? One possibility is to understand the gap between what they think shoppers want, and what shoppers really want. For example, besides the tactile experience of physical merchandise and the personal interaction with salespeople, 79% of shoppers in the survey state that similarity between online and in-store prices is critical or important for them. By comparison, only 52% of retailers surveyed came to the same conclusion. Instead, retailers push unified wish lists and cross-channel shopping carts, features which shoppers think are the least important.

Shoppers in the Store Tell You More
Retailers need better data and better tactics. A large part of the input to formulate such tactics is best obtained when shoppers are in the store, receiving the bricks and mortar buying experience. Given the prevalence of mobile devices (smartphones in particular), it makes sense to use this channel of communication to probe shopper preferences and to get information back. News, advertising, and promotions can be transmitted to shoppers via their mobiles to explore their interests and likes. Guest Wi-Fi enables stores to safely offer shoppers free connectivity and also to insert promotional communications specific to that store (in-browser content insertion) to measure interest and encourage uptake. Beyond connectivity and engagement, essential WiFi services should include web security through the content filtering component within the guest Wi-Fi solution. This should include most up-to date database of Categories, Domains and URLs that venue owners can use to block content that is not suitable for their locations. Venue owners must be able to do blocking based on categories – such as porn, music etc. or simply block access to bandwidth heavy websites such as youtube.

Putting Wi-Fi to Work for Store Staff
Smart use of Wi-Fi and mobile devices is also a solution to another customer demand about interacting with sales associates. The survey from Forrester gives clear indications of what shoppers want and expect from sales associates equipped with mobile devices. In increasing order of popularity (see the percentage figure for each expectation), they are:
  • To know a shopper has entered the store and to greet that shopper personally (14%)
  • Consult a shopper’s past purchases to make product recommendations (20%)
  • Offer information on trend recommendations and product reviews (24%)
  • Perform a checkout for the shopper (41%)
  • Provide basic information such as a return policy or warranty information (44%)
  • Look up and/or reserve inventory at nearby store (57%)
  • Look up product information (67%)
  • Check store inventory on behalf of the shopper (when shelf is empty) (72%)
The study can be downloaded.

Implementing guest Wi-Fi in tandem with the store’s in-house Wi-Fi allows shoppers and store staff to each benefit from wireless connectivity for their mobile devices, but on logically separate networks. A store can therefore keep its own networked IT resources secure, without the worry of possible exposure to anonymous, external users.

Understanding and Influencing Shoppers
By leveraging this connectivity and these digital touchpoints, retailers can then get down to the business of measuring and understanding shopper behavior in the store, and then influencing it directly. This is a goal shared by 62% of the retailers participating in the Forrester survey, who consider that “understanding the customer experience in-store is critical to a holistic CX” (customer experience.) In addition, 85% of shoppers continue to seek the experience of touching and feeling the merchandise in person, compare to only 15% of shoppers preferring to buy online. Forrester also quotes further statistics that more than half of all in-store sales will be influenced by digital touchpoints (53% by 2018.)

The message for retailers is clear. To stay relevant and successful in their business, digital touchpoints and communications.

RaGaPa has combined all the essential Wi-Fi services into a unified platform managed through a cloud based dashboard with its latest solution offering – “CaptiveXS”. With CaptiveXS, RaGaPa’s innovative content insertion technology can deliver even more relevant content to the connected users in real-time. The other key CaptiveXS features include – Captive Portal with Social Login, Content Filtering, Deep User Analytics and User Management. Learn more at www.captivexs.com



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