Smart retailing calls for smart Wi-Fi – here’s how cloud can help

With new research revealing November saw the lowest number of UK shoppers on the high street since the 2008 recession, and December threatening to be just as bad, retailers and hospitality firms need to use every tool available to convert the falling number of shoppers setting foot in their premises.

Customer Wi-Fi, which was once relatively expensive, tricky to install and labour-intensive to maintain, is now considered one of the fundamental weapons in the high-street’s fightback. No other digital solution can arguably deliver so much customer-pleasing bang for your buck across the in-store customer journey.

Part of the lure of Wi-Fi is that consumers are becoming ever more tech-savvy – especially the increasingly financially powerful Generation Z – and they use mobile connectivity for an increasingly complex array of actions as they browse the aisles, dine or enjoy their stay.

Five digital steps to purchase

This in-store digital journey can include five or more touchpoints: product/service research, browsing, decision making, buying and show-and-tell using social media. Each of these stages is equally important to the in-store shopper.

Luckily for retailers and hospitality firms, Deloitte suggests that 75% of all consumers have a Wi-Fi enabled device in their pocket, and this figure will rise to 90% by 2022. So, it’s a no-brainer that businesses should supercharge their in-store Wi-Fi networks to help meet consumers demands and expectations.

There’s more good news for retailers and hospitality firms, because delivering effective, reliable and secure in-store Wi-Fi is no longer the headache it once was. Cloud-based Wi-Fi technology offers easier deployment options and increased capability. This capability includes rich features along with added scalability, all simply delivered through a single cloud-based management dashboard with a user-friendly interface. With this, businesses are able to enhance their retail and hospitality Wi-Fi, analytics, marketing, and sales capabilities.

Cloud bridges the Wi-Fi gap

Retail and hospitality Wi-Fi environments have traditionally been labour-intensive to set up and complicated to manage. Cloud-based solutions easily bridge the gap between traditional networking and software-defined networking, without having to reinvent a business’ entire infrastructure.

Additionally, businesses can manage all of their infrastructure from a single management interface, reducing the need for any on-premise maintenance, and allowing them to manage their physical devices anywhere.

Here are some of the other long-term benefits of cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions for hospitality and retail companies:

  • Enhanced Behaviour Tracking: When a customer connects to an on-premise cloud Wi-Fi solution, businesses can generate heat mapping via the network to track foot traffic. Retailers and hospitality firms can gather this data and entice the customer with target advertising based on the collated analytics.
  • Universal Visibility: Cloud Wi-Fi enables businesses to view their entire connected network through a single network map, allowing them to visualise every aspect of their infrastructure and how it is functioning. This simplifies the identification of issues and allows the IT team to troubleshoot easily.
  • Personalised experiences: Shoppers can be identified when they connect to on-premise Wi-Fi and their online shopping preferences can be integrated with their in-store activity, opening up the possibility of a new world of data-driven personalised experiences.
  • Flexibility & Scalability: Cloud-based networking technology is extremely easy to deploy and can be scaled up or down depending on demand. This amount of flexibility is great for growing businesses or businesses that want to cut down on excess costs.
  • Manageable Costs: Maintaining a software-defined network infrastructure can allow retailers to avoid the costs that come with lengthy deployment of traditional networks and avoid the time-consuming/labour-intensive physical maintenance of those systems. Additionally, cloud-based networking can easily be deployed and isn’t costly over time, so retailers who are looking to grow can really benefit from the use of this networking solution.
  • Effortless Performance: With cloud Wi-Fi, system updates, new features, and service upgrades are automatically updated, without taking up the valuable time and effort of your inhouse IT team. All updates are also visible via one centralised dashboard.

For more information about the benefits of cloud-based Wi-Fi networks, contact the Vodat sales team now.

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