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The Future of Retail 2016 and Beyond

With the addition of overseas entrants joining the local retail market, Australian retailers are being increasingly challenged to meet already steep growth targets. Seventy-four percent of retailers understand the customer experience is incomplete (Darren Wallace, CMO Asahi 2016). The key to remaining competitive in the digital marketplace lies in the transformation of the customer experience. Early adopters of Wi-Fi technology solutions, such as Apple and Burberry are prime examples of the cutting edge customer experience. Adopting Wi-Fi into stores builds a superior experience for customers and provides employees with the tools available at their fingertips to meet digital expectations and convert sales. Careful product selection, network design, configuration procedures and best practice Wi-Fi deployment will achieve optimum coverage, speeds and continuity of service.

RETAILFuture of the Retail Customer Experience

When a customer enters a large bricks and mortar retail store, the expectation is that a helpful shop assistant will greet them. In the future, through the deployment of Wi-Fi technologies, customers will not only be greeted personally by their name they will be assisted with directions to a specific department e.g. weddings via guest Wi-Fi on their hand held device. Real time location software would track the customers progress and simultaneously make an appointment with the wedding consultant who would await to greet them on arrival. The effortless convenience and service focused experience ensures the store becomes the preferred choice.
“On average 21% of shoppers think digital increases their overall order size” Deloitte 2015

 

On occasions where the meet and greet staff member is engaged with another customer, the discovery feature, either a wall monitor or touch screen table, identifies the arrival of other customers and at the point of entry, alights or voice activates with ‘Can I help?”. These tools will allow customers to find stock, specials and locate product details all at the touch of a button. This customer centric technology puts the customer firmly in charge of their shopping experience. Sales conversions can be further boosted by offering transparent price comparisons.

 

“Using digital devices to research, find and compare products boosts the conversion of sales” Deloitte 2015

 

The opportunity to upsell consumer goods in a complimentary Wi-Fi environment significantly increases. In store Wi-Fi allows targeted adverts to appear directly on customers’ phone. For example, as a customer passes the perfume counter, a push notification appears with an exclusive discount – ‘50% off Yves St Laurent perfume today only’. Through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the system would be able to detect that a customer has placed an item in their basket and a push notification would alert them to a further 50% discount should they purchase another similar item. As customers select certain items, targeted videos showcasing products in action can be displayed on screens nearby or mounted on a shopping trolley, instilling further confidence in the purchasing decision. Communicating messages that are carefully tailored towards particular customers is an extremely powerful tool.

 

How many times has a queue, unavailable pay station or change room resulted in a lost sale? Clever network design and configuration procedures of Wi-Fi technology will solve this problem by enabling roaming sales agents. Business agility improved by roaming shop assistants with a purchase on the spot handheld device will be a significant aspect to closing a sales opportunity and reducing customer wait time. Sales attendants will inevitably be able to upsell matching items in stock and demonstrate the use of products for improved customer service.

 

Compulsory in-store analytics will feature heavily with micro analysis defining how many, when and where to place sales agents for optimum results. Valuable insights into promotions and window merchandising will be realised by analysing customer dwell time. One digital size does not fit all. Digital behaviour varies depending upon age, income and product type sought. You will be able to learn which customers have a strong preference to be left alone to those who prefer anonymity – “Hi John, welcome back to XXX”.

Kepler Analytics Heat Map: Customer Movements In-Store.
Kepler Analytics Heat Map: Customer Movements In-Store.

A pre-requisite of the dream is to enable the right technology now in readiness for the future retail experience. In order to create the ideal shopping experience, retailers need to have a solid agile IT infrastructure that withstands the demand, avoids costly disruptions, protects the customer experience, has the understanding and capability to manage its vendor partners and ultimately provides cost savings.

If this seems futuristic, it is not, all the technology is available now and the
ROI for the retailer is real and tangible. By adopting Wi-Fi technology into stores, retailers will create the ultimate ‘wow factor’ shopping experience that leaves a lasting impression. Smart and savvy customer engagement will provide a unique competitive advantage and quickly define leaders in the retail field.

 

About NetWireless
NetWireless specialises in commercial Wi-Fi integration across all industries. We design and deploy complete Wi-Fi systems including hardware supply, configuration, network monitoring, management and security.