Having a great WiFi connection in your store or restaurant is an essential part of the experience at this point. Nearly all consumers prefer to have a WiFi option and the majority now demand it as part of their retail experience. Of course, a reliable connection also allows merchants to conduct business smoothly and efficiently.
But consumer access to retail WiFi networks has a whole lot more potential than most people realize. WiFi marketing is becoming yet another aspect of the omnichannel retail experience. Like most new trends, the big box stores are the primary businesses implementing it, but it’s quickly becoming accessible for small and medium-sized retail stores as well.
So let’s start by looking at a few ways to ensure you have a safe and fast connection, and then look at how you can use this business tool to increase sales for your business.
- Consider Your Placement of the Router in Your Retail Space
- Improve the Range of Your Store WiFi Signal
- Keep Your Shop’s Network Secure
PART I: Improving Your Retail WiFi Connection and Network Security
- Many retailers complain of having one POS terminal operating normally and another moving much more slowly. This is often due to a poor router placement.
- WiFi signals struggle traveling through thick walls (especially if there is metal inside of them) as well as nearby other forms of wireless communication or large electronics.
- The signal also travels poorly upwards, and instead maintains more strength moving horizontally or down. Placing it on the floor often results in a weaker connection.
- Finally, it’s beneficial to keep it far from any neighboring signals and as central as possible in the store.
- Range extenders are cheap and easy to set up. Place a few strategically throughout the store to add signal strength to the problem areas of the space.
- Try using a WiFi heatmap app to measure “darker” areas of your retail space. These will help keep your signal strong for your customers, staff, and retail point of sale terminals.
- An improved range will also help ensure a strong connection for inventory control and management and mobile POS terminals. These can both be run offline with a cloud-based POS system, but, of course, it’s optimal to be connected at all times.
- Having a strong signal is great, but it’s also important to keep it secure.
- Set up a network with a strong password. Don’t just use your store name or something obvious. Changing it often also keeps it more secure.
- Get Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2) in addition to your password. This is further encryption beyond simply a password. Put simply, WPA2 makes it harder for someone to break into your system, keeping your confidential business information safer.
- Set up two different networks: one for employees and one for customers. This avoids the store WiFi connection from slowing down during rush times and keeps activities separate.
- Prevent illegal file sharing and downloading. If WiFi activity is flagged on your network you can be held legally responsible. Include a disclaimer prompt that forces an agreement prior to access or add a firewall blocking all sites that are not HTTP. You can also simply prevent downloading across the board.
PART II: WiFi Marketing for Retail
So what about the marketing side of things? Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot you can take advantage of in this realm that will benefit both you and your customers. If you’re offering the service, you might as well take advantage of the added benefits.
And better to try it now rather than when it becomes an industry standard. WiFi marketing has the potential to redefine the brick and mortar experience. Attempts to leverage these new data analytics are still in their infancy. Below is a brief intro to the concept from a business that helps streamline your WiFi marketing.
- Advertise the presence of WiFi near entrances and other heavily trafficked areas.
- You can also require location sharing in order to use.
- Many consumers are still wary of sharing too much information so it might help to incentivize signing in with coupons or discounts.
- Identify Buying Cycles – Major retailers have been collecting our purchase history for years. This is a given for eCommerce shops, but it’s not hard to do with brick and mortar stores either. Create and branded app and encourage purchases to be made through this. The rise of alternative payment options (like in-app purchasing) has made this even easier. With added data about consumer buying cycles, retail stores can optimize marketing campaigns, ordering, and promotions.
- In-Store Location/Traffic Patterns – Real-time location services (RTLS) uses GPS triangulation to give an incredibly accurate location. This can give retailers a lot more information than just footfall or in-store traffic. Analyzing the most frequented spots of your retail space can help you improve store layout and marketing displays. Thus far, the majority of WiFi analytics go toward in-store traffic data.
- Fight Price Comparison – More and more consumer are using their cell phones for price comparison with online retailers while shopping in a brick and mortar store (something that has been coined showrooming). Retailers can use their WiFi to direct shoppers to their own eCommerce store, or price match competition. This also further combines different retail channels of your business, creating a more integrated omnichannel experience.
- Continue the Relationship/Conversation – Relationship retailing continues to grow. Making repeated contact with past, current and potential customers is proven to increase sales. Gathering customer data through WiFi agreements allows you to build your audience and communicate on different levels. You can send strategic texts, push notifications, emails, or mailings.
- Segmented Marketing – At the same time, this information combined with a purchase history allows you to segment advertising and personalize the communication. These are two vital strategies for improving the entire retail experience.
- Compare with Multiple Locations – If you have multiple locations for your business, keep data gathered from your WiFi separate for each location. This allows you to perform A/B testing and compare results from changes made to each.
- Promotions – Running discounts on new products, bundled items, overstocked inventory, or seasonal items is always an important strategy. Retailers can make this easier through their WiFi marketing. Again, adding incentives with coupons or gifts for signing in gives you customer data and also rewards loyalty.
Conclusion on Your Retail WiFi Marketing Strategy
Once you establish a reliable and secure WiFi connection in your store, focus on how you to get customers to use it in a way that also benefits your business. As technology continues to rapidly progress the potential benefits of WiFi marketing are staggering. So it’s best to start now and be ready for the what’s next.
Your POS system can also help your retail marketing strategy. Click on the button beneath to find out more about how KORONA can grow your business.