Retail Guest Wi-Fi Enhances Push Marketing Opportunities

Date August 13, 2014 Author Comments Leave your thoughts

Guest WiFi enhancing retail push marketing

Push marketing within retail is evolving, and our actions as consumers – increasingly removed from the high street – are the driving force. In recent years we have all undoubtedly become more savvy in the way that we combine on-line search and in-store shopping, whether we are simply buying the weekly groceries, planning a new outfit or pricing up a big ticket item such as a television.

Put your hand up if you’ve ever spotted a potential in-store buy, dug out your smartphone and investigated its price on-line before committing to the purchase…

I know I have!

And, why shouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t we exploit our technology to get a better deal? It’s only fair, right?

So You’re Saying Guest Wi-Fi is Bad for Retailers?

Your first assumption might be that this all spells bad news for retailers, who are already struggling to compete with on-line prices, offers and more extensive stock holdings. But although buying on-line has its advantages –particularly for the lazy and/or short tempered among us – statistical information suggests that the vast majority of people still prefer to shop in-store, with a whopping 90% of purchasing still taking place there.

So, with footfall seemingly not a concern, there is a clear opportunity for retailers to make Wi-Fi technology – and more specifically, push Wi-Fi Marketing – work for them and to begin to bridge the void between offline and on-line consumer habits and brand experiences.

Essential Retail Guest Wi-Fi

In a previous Ensign Blog entry, we looked at the growth of customer guest Wi-Fi within retail stores and the attempts of retailers to marry on-line and offline behaviour into one seamless consumer experience.

Whether they’re searching through the racks of their favourite clothing store, scurrying up and down the aisles of the local supermarket or slurping their third caramel macchiato in Starbucks (other coffee outlets are available… I think?), customers expect free Wi-Fi availability, which of course comes at a cost to the ‘house’.

Now the onus is on retail (and hospitality – that’s for another blog) establishments to transform this commodity into a two-way street; one which drives benefits and rewards for customers but also helps to improve the bottom line for retailers and provides a tangible return on their investment.

An Evolution of Push Marketing

Traditional push marketing  techniques within the retail sector have taken the form of point-of-sale displays, promotional giveaways, in-store reps and strategic product placement – to name but a few – and all of these are usually fuelled by simultaneously executed pull strategies such as cut-out newspaper or magazine coupons and television or radio advertising campaigns.

In the past these have worked well enough, but in today’s world this kind of strategy is not nearly focused enough. Hyper-personalisation of all on-line activities, from the stories we see appear on our Facebook feeds to our ‘organic’ Google search results, and even the affiliate ads we see when web-browsing, has created an almost subconscious expectation that information should be tailored, filtered and above all, specific to our individual preferences.

The Crux: Retail Wi-Fi push marketing can not only achieve this, but a myriad of additional, more sophisticated, customer engagement possibilities too. Customer Communication channels, although not totally primitive, have traditionally been limited in one seemingly crucial way; businesses are able to amass a great deal of customer data but are not alerted of a store visit until a transaction is complete…too late!

Through the installation and leveraging of in-store guest Wi-Fi, retailers can now talk to new and returning visitors whilst they are shopping and before any purchasing decisions are made, opening up a world of fresh, informed and personalised push-marketing possibilities.

Retail Push Marketing with the Wi-Fi Difference

Without digging too deep into the intelligence-based, shopper-experience and enhanced communication possibilities of a more sophisticated retail guest Wi-Fi platform (which are truly extensive), here are some of the core strategic push marketing capabilities:

  • Merchandising – Using profile data – much like the kind that personalises our on-line experiences – retailers are able to target consumers with more relevant ads based on previous purchases and shopping habits.
  • Offers – Offers can be tailored to the customer, taking into account not only their personal data but a number of other factors, such as the weather or seasonal products, which might pertain to the effectiveness of a particular offer.
  • Recommendations – Suggesting products which may be of interest, based on previous purchases, is yet another option; think ‘customers who bought product A, also viewed products B and C’.

As I said, the options really are extensive and this barely scratched the surface, as we have neglected the realms of customer surveys, social media syndication, campaign specific management, and so on…

The Big Question for Retail Wi-Fi Marketing

The theory, current testing and indeed, conventional wisdom, supporting the virtues  and possibilities of retail guest Wi-Fi as a push marketing and brand-building tool suggest it is certainly not to be scoffed at and really could revolutionise retail marketing . However, in true journalistic fashion and in the interest of balance, it would be careless not to consider a flip-side.

The reality just might be that our acceptance of marketing messages in any format can vary dramatically, and can quite often be deemed somewhat intrusive, aggressive and, at times, even plain annoying. Speaking as a youthful (immature) thirty-year-old, I’d be quite happy to receive the odd in-store message if the outcome either saved me money or drew my attention to a better deal.

However, unlike my younger (much younger) sister, my mobile is not permanently welded to my hand, especially when I am mooching the shops and, moreover, is invariably fixed to silent – making me a very bad case study! The same might also be said for those occupying demographics in which mobile technology is not deemed a necessity and are even more suspicious of being marketed to.

With that said, an On Device Research study found that: “If logged on to [a] store’s Wi-Fi 74% [of shoppers] would be happy for the company to send them text messages or emails with promotional offers.”

What do I know, hey?

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Author Gregg Meade

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