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Retailers Need In-Store Wi-Fi To Provide Enhanced Shopping Experiences

costumer using public wifi to find a product in store
One of the most recent benchmark reports released by Retail Systems Research (RSR) entitled, The Relevant Store In The Digital Age, uncovered a serious impediment getting in the way of an enhanced shopping experience.

While retailers have made significant investments in customer-facing mobile technologies over the past year, the most troubling aspect -- according to the analysts who put together the report (and to me as a solution provider) -- is the lack of budget ascribed to the linchpin of all customer-facing mobile technologies: in-store Wi-Fi.

Here’s a look at how the most valuable technologies were ranked in the survey and what has been implemented over the past year:

  • In-store personalized rewards and/or coupons – 51% (31% have implemented
  • Mobile solutions enabled by customer smartphones – 50% (35% have implemented
  • Digital displays and interactive kiosks to enhance the shopping experience – 48% (41% have implemented)

However, while 37% of retailers indicated that in-store public Wi-Fi is of high value, 24% currently have no budget for it.

The question that was posed so succinctly in the report is an important one that I think all retailers need to ask themselves: “What is the value of all of a retailer's investments in mobile and digital channel solutions aimed at enhancing the store experience if the store is a patchy or, worse, dead cell zone?”

Look, we understand that there are a lot of factors keeping retailers from providing customers with in-store public Wi-Fi, such as the fear of less security, increased showrooming and greater potential for employee distractions. However, there are also many ways to address these issues, while at the same time offering customers the enhanced shopping experience they have come to expect.

In other words, as the report emphasized, consumers (and employees) will bring digital into your store one way or another. So, the question becomes, “Are you going to be a part of that experience or an obstacle?”

One way we are helping our customers operate at peak efficiency is by ensuring that they not only have complete wireless coverage, but a secure wireless network from both a corporate and in-store perspective. Because cost is always top of mind for many of the retailers we work with, we conduct simultaneous wireless site surveys to help cut down on time and cost, and to determine the necessary coverage at all times.

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