5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs In-Store Wifi

iPads_Instore_at_OasisWith smartphone penetration in the UK population now greater than 50%, it is inevitable that increasing numbers of consumers are going to use their phone to enhance their in-store experience in the same way they're using it to enhance other aspects of their lives.In fact, in a recent survey conducted by On Device Research (ODR), 60% of smartphone owners were found to have used the mobile internet whilst in-store. It's a phenomenon that's been observed by many of our fashion retail clients.To capitalise on this trend, an increasing number of retailers - including our client, Aurora Fashions (comprising of Coast, Oasis, Warehouse & Karen Millen) - have invested in installing wifi networks in their stores.So what exactly are the benefits of an in-store wifi network and why should you be investing in one?1. Allowing Your Customer to Access Product Information & ReviewsA customer may be teetering on the brink of a purchase but require that little bit more information before making a purchase. That may be specific product information or it may be expert or customer reviews.  By enabling customers to go online to look for this information, you'll be increasing conversion in your store, especially if you make the process easy by offering mobile URLs, QR codes or barcodes that can be scanned (in the latter case, via your branded app) to connect customers quickly and easily to the information they require.2. Increasing Conversion By Using Mobile Discount VouchersOnce someone has logged onto your wifi network and registered their details, you have the ability to send them discount vouchers, by email or text, which can be redeemed in store to make it more likely they'll purchase.  74% of respondents in the ODR survey said they'd be happy for a retailer to send them a text or email with promotions.  Alternatively, you can just direct them to vouchers on existing services such as vouchercloud - a portal used by many of our clients.3. Ordering Out of Stock ItemsA product may be out of stock in-store, or it may be just that the customer's size or preferred colour isn't available. If those item are in stock online, then greater conversion can be achieving by enabling customers to easily order the items they want online whilst in store, particularly if combined with a 'click and collect' system.Aurora Fashions have taken this a step further by introducing iPads into their stores. This not only allows consumers, and Sales Assistants on consumers behalf, to browse the full product range rather than the more limited range available in-store, but also to avoid queues by ordering a product online for home delivery that they've identified in-store. Originally trialled in the Oasis flagship store in London, in the first week of operation iPad transactions accounted for 20% of all sales.4. Capturing Their In-Store Behaviour for Better Offer TargetingOnce a customer has logged on to your wifi network and registered their details, perhaps including their store or loyalty card number, you'll be able to track their behaviour in-store in the same way you can track their behaviour online.  You'll have  a more holistic view of each customer including the products that interested them in-store and those they went on to buy. You could even use this information to send them bespoke offers next time they log on to your in-store wifi network.5. Facilitating Mobile PaymentsIncreasing numbers of consumers are showing an interest in mobile payment methods. Tradedoubler revealed that 42% of UK smartphone owners said they'd be interesting in using their phone as a mobile wallet. In the US, the Starbucks payment app has been phenomenally successful, being a key driver behind over 15% of US consumers using mobile apps to make a payments at the point of sale , according to IDC. And as this trend gravitates across The Pond, and more phones offer contactless payment technology such as NFC, increasing numbers of consumers will expect stores to offer mobile payment options. Aurora Fashions started accepting mobile payments in their stores via the Paypal app back in May. Those retailers that follow suit will reap the benefits.But why invest in a wifi network when customers can use the 3G signal of their network provider?  Well, 3G networks can be hugely variable, particularly in store environments. By offering a wifi network, you're offering a more reliable platform to encourage the behaviours above, all of which will enhance your in-store conversion.But what about those using your wifi network to compare prices and purchase items elsewhere whilst they're in my store?  This does happen - 42% of UK smartphone owners admitted to using their phones to make price comparisons whilst in-store according to Tradedoubler - and this phenomenon is only likely to grow. But the best way to combat this is to offer a controllable environment of your own that customers can use.On a simplistic level, by offering mobile discounts via your wifi network, you make it more likely that consumers will purchase from you rather than your competitors. By facilitating their desire for more product information and reviews, you'll make it less likely they'll go to competitor sites to find that information. And by 'doing them the favour' of offering them a quality wifi network to help them make purchase decisions, you'll make it more likely they'll 'do you the favour' of purchasing from you rather than a competitor - a classic example of the law of reciprocation.Retailers with brick and mortar stores need to leverage those assets to the full to stand out against their online-only rivals.  Bringing the benefits of the digital world to the in-store environment to enhance the consumer's experience is an excellent way of doing just that.