June 2017

Free WiFi helps connect online and in-store shopping

Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores still account for more than 90% of total retail sales1. But, today's shopping experience is no longer a linear path to purchase. Many trips start with mobile browsing and end with an in-store purchase, or vice versa. And even when we're in-store, digital browsing and shopping often happens simultaneously. Shopper expectations and behaviors spill over from digital to retail, giving retailers the challenge and opportunity to harness these behaviors to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Meeting this challenge doesn't just mean forcing a digital tactic into the retail space. Instead, retailers can create connections that seamlessly link the two and create opportunities to learn about the shopper. In doing this, both the brand and shopper win. The retailer has the opportunity to leverage digital touch-points to capture and collect shopper data in a physical space - data collection, retargeting non-purchasers, increasing upsell and incentivizing repeat purchase. And shoppers gain the conveniences of online shopping in-store - accessing customer reviews, comparing prices and searching for relevant deals and coupons. Here's how some of today's brands are getting it done.

Enhancing the shopping experience with good customer service. And the Wi-Fi password. Some retailers are taking a page out of the café and restaurant playbook by giving shopper access to Wi-Fi in exchange for their data.2 Getting a customer online can keep them happy and in the store longer, likely leading to a purchase. Plus, who doesn't love free Wi-Fi?

Take the guesswork out. Sharing Wi-Fi lets retailers like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores® find out exactly who is in their store and lets them retarget previous customers to get them to come back. Using data to get a sense for who your real shopper is can help boost profits, as retargeting is more effective than plain old targeting.

Other businesses taking a similar approach include sports leagues like the WNBA, who is activating mobile engagements in their arenas to better understand their fans. While at the game, the WNBA incentivizes fans to register and opt-in for a chance at an instant prize, coupon or offer. The fans get some love, and the WNBA gets some lead-gen.

The mobile shopping boost. For years customers have been using their phones in-store to compare prices, search for other product information and, most especially, read reviews. All those behaviors can lead to purchase, which makes it even more important for retailers to encourage them. Mobile has already influenced an estimated $1 trillion in in-store sales, so retailers looking for a boost to their bottom line may want to consider creating a mobile-integrated retail experience that enhances the overall shopping journey.3 And giving them free Wi-Fi access while they shop only encourages and may even increase this behavior.

Sources Cited:

1 CMO, by Adobe . Tarleton, Marissa, "Retailers Benefit When They Blur Line Between In-Store and Mobile Shopping." http://www.cmo.com/opinion/articles/2017/3/16/boost-retail-sales-by-blurring-the-line-between-instore-and-mobile-shopping-experiences.html#gs.VWRxAio)

2 Advertising Age. Kaye, Kate, "Crafty Retailer Jo-Ann Fabric Aims to Retarget Its In-Store Wi-Fi Users." http://adage.com/article/digital/retailer-jo-ann-aims-retarget-store-wi-fi-users/308287/

3 CMO, by Adobe. Tarleton, Marissa, "Retailers Benefit When They Blur Line Between In-Store and Mobile Shopping."

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