Looking for double-digit growth? Boost your in-store connectivity…says Retail Week

According to Retail Week’s latest ‘Top 30 Growth Retailers’ report, the secret to achieving year-on-year double digit growth is…connectivity.

The 2018 rankings include high-street retailers who have boosted their networks to enhance connectivity and deliver improved face-to-face customer experiences.

Traditional bricks-and-mortar brands such as Lush, Oliver Bonas, Kurt Geiger, Aldi and The Range are supercharging their in-store networks to help deliver annual growth of almost 30%.

Lush connecting with ethical shoppers

One of Vodat’s clients, hand-made cosmetics retailer Lush, is reaping the benefits of rolling out Wi-Fi  across its 105 UK stores, reporting a 28% increase in annual sales to £139.9 million according to the report. The chain is using this increased connectivity to drive customer engagement and inform shoppers about its ethical products and campaign.

The Retail Week 2018 report points out that Lush’s in-store Wi-Fi system enables the brand to engage with shoppers through digital signage and social media as well as educating staff.

Using a segregated service set identifier (SSID ) connection with Vodat‘s inherent built-in security, Lush is able to balance connection bandwidth between store and customer usage, depending on demand.  This could mean boosting store bandwidth for staff training or allowing customer devices to stream live feeds from events at other Lush locations.

Oliver Bonas goes mobile for growth

Oliver Bonas is another retailer benefiting from network investment. The fashion, jewellery and homeware chain is now the 10th fastest-growing UK retailer thanks, in part, to new Wi-Fi hotspots and enhanced broadband connectivity, enabling store assistants to use tablets as a mobile point of sale. These tablets also give customers access Oliver Bonas’ entire product range. The same network enables the retailer to link a number of back-end systems to process click-and-collect purchases.

Kurt Geiger’s single view boosts sales

Meanwhile, Kurt Geiger has broken into the top-30 fastest growing UK retailers after championing in-store networks and connectivity.

The premium footwear retailer has installed interactive touchscreens and last year introduced a mobile-enabled PoS system on tablets across its estate to support a more attentive in-store customer experience.

Kurt Geiger staff now have a single view of stock, transactions and customers, enabling them to answer queries and process payments quickly without needing a till.

While traditional bricks-and-mortar stores feature heavily in the top 30 fastest growing rankings, pureplay retailers still dominate. However, the pureplays featured are increasingly looking to open physical stores.

Farfetch delivers connectivity retailers strive for

Top of the pile is luxury fashion retailer Farfetch, which boasts 64.8% year-on-year sales growth to £151.3 million.

It’s Store of the Future concept, currently being trialled at its Browns store in London, is digitally led and focuses on customer experience, which Retail Week describes as ‘becoming the modern face of fashion retail.’

Farfetch’s concept store features RFID-enabled clothing racks that track in-store browsing behaviour and smart mirrors that let customers view their existing wish lists and order items in different sizes without leaving the changing room. The RFID tracking system can also sense when an item is removed from the shelf by a shopper and automatically adds it to the customer’s mobile app.

When customers arrive in-store staff are alerted and can access customers’ recent shopping behaviour enabling them to give a more connected experience.

Retail Week says that Farfetch’s use of data illustrates ‘the kind of connectivity that retailers across all sectors are striving for’.

Connectivity – the essential ingredient for growth

Retail Week’s assessment of what it takes to make its ‘Top 30 Growth Retailers’ list is clear cut. Retail Week Prospect analyst, Ryan Doherty, says: ‘Rapid growth now requires a level of connectivity throughout a retailer’s business, from supply chain and marketing to stores and online. Whether you’re profitable or loss-making, young or old, pureplay or multichannel, the retailers in our ranking reflect this.’

Summing up, Ryan says: ‘Get your infrastructure right, as a foundation for new innovation.’

Vodat International specialises in flexible, secure, cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions that make connections with customers easier and faster. If you want to provide a more engaging and secure in-store experience for your customers, get in touch to find out more.

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