The Power Of Wi-Fi: Using Mobile To Drive Customer Acquisition And Loyalty
Columnist Allan Haims explores the benefits of in-store Wi-Fi for malls and retailers and how it can significantly boost customer engagement.
Getting inside the minds of the retail customer and influencing them at the right moment during their buying journey is no new challenge for marketers. However, as technology becomes more sophisticated, retail marketers who are tapping into data on consumer preferences, timing and other key buying factors are making significant strides in consumer engagement.
Mobile is clearly a disruptive force in the retail market as shoppers are tied to their smartphones 24/7, and research shows them actively using their devices while shopping onsite at brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Harnessing the power of mobile, however, requires much more than just sending sale alerts or creating an app for download. We know that consumers are looking for low-investment, high-return tools to help them find what they’re looking for, at the right price, and in the immediate vicinity to quickly make a purchase.
They may be looking for a particular product or they may have a brand in mind. Either way, they are open to guidance.
Tapping Into The Power Of Wi-Fi
Malls and retailers can leverage this opportunity by tapping into the power of Wi-Fi. How?
Picture this scenario, which has likely happened to you at some point. You try to send a text or email, access Facebook or search for a deal on your phone while in the mall, only to find that it is next to impossible due to terrible connectivity.
Many mall developers now offer free Wi-Fi to shoppers, in part, to ensure they still feel connected while shopping. But this amenity has more to offer shoppers — and retail marketers.
As an example, once consumers sign onto a mall’s Wi-Fi network, they may be able to access resources such as a directory of stores, mall events and key promotions, all of which add value to their immediate experience.
As this delivery method eliminates the need for consumers to download apps or complete registration pages, consumers are more likely to engage. It becomes a gateway for shoppers to pull information as they need it.
Shoppers who sign onto mall- or store-based Wi-Fi networks have reason to stay on the premises longer, providing retailers an extended opportunity to connect with more customers and clinch further sales — both by developing their customer acquisition pipeline as well as strengthening existing customer loyalty.
On the customer acquisition side, many mall retailers are finding that shoppers are often entering their shops because they’ve learned about a promotion while onsite at the mall — not necessarily because of an email or direct mail piece they received from the brand. They may have even had a specific retailer in mind but didn’t find what they were looking for and decided to peruse a competitor’s promotion instead because they saw it was available once they were at the mall.
Immediacy = Loyalty
The importance of immediacy cannot be underestimated when consumers are looking to fulfill their purchase needs.
Wi-Fi-driven customer loyalty is also at play, as many consumers have already formed a relationship with, and affinity for, particular stores where they shop regularly.
Whether or not they currently utilize the brand’s mobile app, providing visibility into targeted promotions via the Wi-Fi access gives shoppers another key touch point with preferred retail brands. If they see something they were looking for, and it is available for immediate purchase, then that retailer has made significant loyalty strides with a customer.
Additionally, malls and retailers using Wi-Fi to offer shopping information to consumers can utilize the technology to capture shopper insights and patterns, which can be funneled back into the malls’ and retailers’ sales and marketing strategies. For example, Wi-Fi usage stats may reveal peak buying periods across certain types of stores or show which promotions drove the best results on any given day.
With this type of data available on Wi-Fi networks, malls and retailers can learn from current trends and optimize their on-premise traffic engagement strategies.