A recent survey by JiWire has revealed that 80% are influenced by the availability of in-store WiFi when deciding where to shop. The detailed survey also revealed that 93.6% of smartphone users report using their device in store. This high volume of smartphone usage is yet another indicator of how much we depend on our devices and being connected at all times.
Other highlights of the report showed that mobile usage was highest in consumer electronics stores followed by clothing retailers. It should be no surprise that free WiFi is an increasingly important in these stores where the demand for data is highest. Cellular data coverage tends to be weak within large building structures compounding the connection issues even more.
One major concern of bricks and mortar retailers currently is the practice of showrooming which is where consumers treat the retail environment as a showroom, only to go home and order their desired goods online. You might expect that providing free WiFi in the retail environment would exacerbate this problem, but in fact the opposite is true. The differential between goods online and in bricks and mortar retail is narrowing and very often not material when shipping and delayed gratification are considered. It makes sense for the consumer to be able to compare prices quickly and while in store so that they can identify the small differential and decide to buy there and then.
Comparing prices is the top activity for mobile users in-store, and is followed by product reviews and redemption of retailer deals and vouchers. Other activities include browsing the web and using social media while in-store.
WiFi intelligence can be applied to the retail WiFi environment to identify user search trends as well as gathering marketing data for continued communication. The benefits of retail WiFi are clear and with intelligent WiFi data analysis bricks and mortar retailers have another weapon to combat showrooming.