Increasingly more retailers are offering guest Wi-Fi as a way to engage with shoppers and enhance their in-store experience. Many shoppers use the service to browse online for information or competitive pricing on products—a practice that’s growing dramatically in popularity. In fact, as reported recently in RetailWire, 50 percent of smartphone owners surveyed felt more confident making a major purchase with the ability to research in store. What’s more, these shoppers reported that Wi-Fi access would make them 30 percent more likely to browse additional items not on their list, and 20 percent more likely to stay longer in store.
But aside from retaining shoppers in your store, guest Wi-Fi is also a valuable opportunity for your marketing team. It gives you greater control of the shopping experience by allowing you to directly inform customers of sales and specials and offer them discounts and coupons.
The challenge lies in enticing shoppers to want to use it.
To offer guest Wi-Fi in a way that encourages your shoppers to make the most of it, I suggest three clear, easy steps: 1) inform, 2) engage, and 3) motivate. Taking these steps will ensure that your shoppers perceive your Wi-Fi services as an attractive and valuable proposition, enhancing their shopping experience and providing another incentive to return to your store.
1) Inform your shoppers with visual marketing. The first step to making the most of your guest Wi-Fi is to publicize it. This may seem obvious, but retailers often miss several opportunities to promote their Wi-Fi to shoppers. Signage should be placed at key points along the path to purchase: window clings on front doors; placards on shelves, high-traffic areas, and checkouts; and short wording printed on receipts, shopping bags, and circulars. Layering the message in different ways and at various points will position your guest Wi-Fi as an important part of the shopping experience, rather than simply a fringe benefit. Here are some examples of real retailers using effective visual displays:
2) Engage your shoppers by educating your staff. Another step in offering guest Wi-Fi is to ensure that your shoppers are aware of it. Posting signs throughout your store is a great start, but on its own is simply not enough. The interest of shoppers needs to be elicited—and this where is your staff comes in. Educate your sales associates on how guest Wi-Fi is an important sales tool: it provides shoppers the online access they want, given the often spotty cellular reception inside stores, while personalizing—and modernizing—the retail experience for shoppers. Instruct your staff to use their own mobile devices to understand how the process works, so they can easily demonstrate it to customers should the opportunity arise. Finally, encourage your staff to invite shoppers to use the guest Wi-Fi at various stages of the shopping experience: at the entrance, on the floor, at the checkout.
3) Motivate your shoppers by targeting incentives. Informing and engaging your shoppers about the guest Wi-Fi in your store is important, but then you’ll want to motivate them to actually use it. And that entails highlighting the benefits and offering incentives to do so: discounts, coupons, loyalty points, rewards. But to take this a step further, ensure that the incentives are relevant—target those incentives to make each shopper feel like they’re getting an experience unique to your store. And that will make the experience memorable and impactful. Here are some ways to do this:
- Make registration a simple, one-time opt-in process (after which shoppers are automatically reconnected during future visits)
- Use game playing (gamification) to engage shoppers with products in an entertaining way
- Use QR codes that can be scanned next to products to see more detailed information on them
- Run daily specials or promotions that are unique to your store and announced only through the guest Wi-Fi
- Offer discounts or rewards redeemable only through the guest Wi-Fi
The insights you can gather from your shoppers by their use of your guest Wi-Fi provide your operation with clear benefits. The deeper level of engagement creates better customer relationships and new opportunities for personalization. What’s more, you can learn which sections of your store are heavily trafficked, but you can also see the number of shoppers who are buying online without making a purchase in your store (the practice known as show rooming).
But before you can benefit from this information, your shoppers have to want to use your guest Wi-Fi. The key is to position it as a positive experience they’ll remember and associate with your store. This will not only encourage them to use it, but has the potential to boost loyalty by encouraging those shoppers to return, and give them a more satisfying experience.
To learn more about guest Wi-Fi and how it can improve your retail operations, contact us.