Shopper expectation in a new age of personalised service

Retail is a hard-fought sector, in which getting the competitive advantage means offering customers a level of service they simply can’t find elsewhere.

And, thanks to Wi-Fi, retailers have the opportunity to engage shoppers more closely than ever.

We conducted a survey of 1,000 shoppers, and found that 86% of them use their mobile devices while in-store; and the rewards for delivering personalised services based on the information they’re sharing while doing so are significant.

But how many retailers are truly making the most of Wi-Fi’s capabilities?

Why retail must become personal

Fears of appearing intrusive have held some retailers back from capitalising on this approach; but ignoring personalisation is no longer an option.

A third of shoppers (33%) have come to expect a shopping experience that is informed in some way by a previous visit, or by their prior online activities. These consumers appreciate the convenience of a service that’s tailored to their needs, and like being treated as individuals.

Embracing shoppers’ mobile connectivity is a powerful way to add personal value. For example, earlier this year, womenswear retailer Oasis invited its customers to attend a preview of its new collections. By expressing their personal preferences via the retailer’s app, they could choose which clothes they’d like to see in its autumn/winter collection, and opt to receive an email notifying them when their favourites became available.

It’s not just fashion where it pays to get personal. 42% of the shoppers we surveyed say that their buying decisions are influenced by recommendations based on their previous purchases. While some retailers are using historical knowledge of transactions to suggest suitable follow-on sales, others, like Oasis, are building their inventory in line with demand, and their customers are taking an active role in the process.

Location, location, location!

Modern technology enables retailers to reach out to their customers, wherever they are, and address them on increasingly direct terms.For example, cosmetics retailer Lush, which is renowned for its in-store services, uses location-based marketing notifications to target nearby customers, alerting them to opening times, contact numbers and directions via an integrated map.

In-store, Wi-Fi creates the opportunity to take a similarly geo-targeted approach, and most shoppers are receptive to it; 70% are happy to receive notifications to their mobile triggered by their location inside a shop, be it at a certain display or department.

Wi-Fi can also be employed to track shoppers’ movement around your stores, allowing you to deploy staff and marketing resources accordingly.

Power to the people

Personalised services are not all about automated message deliveries. More than half (51%) of shoppers want sales staff to offer them guidance and information that draws on their personal preferences.

By equipping sales teams with connected mobile devices, retailers can deliver personalisation with a human touch, bringing to bear the detailed product information at their fingertips to answer their customer’s queries face to face.

It takes a strong Wi-Fi connection to successfully maintain these conversations; especially given the amount of online activity taking place simultaneously on personal devices throughout the store.

Reap the benefits of Wi-Fi analytics

As well as delivering the mobile connectivity customers expect to encounter in-store, Wi-Fi gives you the means to gather, analyse and respond to their personal demands. And given that 45% of shoppers will share information over Wi-Fi in exchange for a better service, the potential gains are huge.

As well as making your customers happier, willing to spend more money and keen to visit your stores more often, utilising the analytical capabilities of Wi-Fi will empower your business to improve operational processes, and ensure your marketing campaigns are well targeted.

It’s probably time to check that your existing Wi-Fi services can handle this vital job.

Vodat offers managed Wi-Fi services that allow retailers to execute successful personalisation strategies in their stores; download our infographic to learn more.

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