Why Retail Giants in India should invest in Wi-Fi Marketing
Last Updated:  May 8, 2018
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global Wi-Fi market size is expected to grow from USD 14.8 Billion in 2015 to USD 33.6 Billion by 2020 at an estimated CAGR of 17.8%, largely propelled by the increase in the usage of internet and growth in mobile data. It would come as no surprise if the size of Wi-Fi marketing in India follows the same pattern (Wi-Fi market size in India currently has a growth rate of 12% from 2013, with over thirty thousand commercial hotspots).
The year 2015 saw multiple announcements of public Wi-Fi projects:
Government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, which aims to increase connectivity and transform the country into a digitally-empowered society.
Indian Railways Wi-Fi project, RailWire, in partnership with Google.
Two leading telcos, BSNL and Reliance Communications, joining the race to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots with BSNL forming a joint venture with Facebook.
A number of other companies, like Internet service providers – Joister, Jionet, Ozone, Ortel, and many more, coming forward to provide public hotspots.
With these developments, Wi-Fi is becoming the new centre of attention all over India.
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At Beaconstac, we have been working closely with over 600 clients across the globe on digital engagement for physical stores. Businesses today, are understanding the necessity of it and are accordingly forming strategies to engage customers via location-based technologies such as Wi-Fi. For instance, retailers who have utilized Wi-Fi in their stores have generated a number of new tactics to engage with customers via product promotions, customer loyalty programs, targeted ad campaigns, and offers.
Retailers who haven’t yet embraced Wi-Fi as part of their overall branding and customer service strategy now run the risk of losing out to their competitors who have. If you are still unsure about what Wi-Fi will bring to your business, here are the top 5 reasons why Indian retailers should invest in Wi-Fi Marketing:
1. It allows retailers to capture demographics at a granular level
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Today, every smartphone comes equipped with a Wi-Fi card, which is detectable by local routers once the card is on. In-store equipments detect the Wi-Fi card, learn the device’s unique ID number, and use it to register the device owner’s location as the owner moves through the store. In general, no personally identifiable information can be gathered this way, so the privacy of a shopper remains intact. The resulting data slurry gives immense power to you as a retailer to get incredibly specific data about how your customers behave, build detailed profiles of consumers, gain insightful information such as visits over the last 6 months, favorite days to visit, and other demographic data. For instance, here are some of the things that a retail store learned about its business and in-store customer behaviour via Wi-Fi:
I. The average wait time at the back register was 2 minutes. II. Half of the shoppers came to the store twice in a week. III. 10% of the shoppers never bought anything. IV. A lot of shoppers did not find what they wanted. V. The promotion on the east side entrance of the store was more successful at bringing buyers than the promotion on the west side of the store. VI. A typical user came in and purchased just one thing. VII. 10% of the users had been at more than one of the chain retailer stores.
So clearly, once a customer is connected to your Wi-Fi, you immediately learn more about their shopping patterns, purchases, and habits. You can then utilize the same data to target customers effectively.
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2. It helps you in converting browsers into buyers
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Wi-Fi empowers retailers in multiple ways. One of the ways is to help them convert browsers into buyers. You ask how? Well, a retailer can practice targeted marketing in a better way by using the data collected via Wi-Fi. Brands that engage shoppers in-store have a greater chance of converting window shopping into a sale. This can be done by offering targeted promotions to in-store customers as they browse for products, or allowing shoppers to look up product ratings on their mobile device. This helps in swaying shoppers’ buying decision. In fact, shoppers feel valued with such engagements.
According to a recent OnDeviceResearch survey, 74% of shoppers said that they would gladly receive a text or email with promotions while they’re using in-store Wi-Fi. On the global front, Wi-Fi is known to be one more reason for shoppers to stay and shop in a store. Recent research from Yankee Group found that 96% of customers prefer locations that offer free Wi-Fi and that they actually return to retail stores that offer free Wi-Fi. The research also found that if a store offers Wi-Fi, 78% of shoppers would definitely access it. [Tweet ” How Wi-Fi helps retailers in converting in-store browsers into buyers”]
3. It aids in brand building
Wi-Fi marketing can also work as a field for PR actions and as an advertising space. You can build your brand image and at the same time, attract potential customers by encouraging them to visit your store, a web page about the store or simply present an offer. An example for this could be say, common areas inside a mall. If a customer connects to one of the vendors’ Wi-Fi, he/she can be offered an eye catching graphic, or a short video about some of the latest products, sale coupons etc. The idea and the form of the ad should be friendly and consistent with the brand image. This way you would not perturb your customer.
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A retail store can additionally leverage various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, by offering in-store Wi-Fi. Social media channels are becoming an inseparable part of people’s lives and Wi-Fi becomes an easy tool to provide customers an easy access to such social media platforms inside a store. For instance, features such as Facebook’s Places not only allows users to let the world know where they are but also aids businesses in building a presence and brand image on social media.
4. It creates an enhanced, multi-channel brand experience
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A staggering 34% of retailers in the US planned on embracing Wi-Fi technology for their stores last year.
With the emergence of omnichannel retail in India, retailers have to re-visit their strategies in order to meet the requirements of today’s empowered customers and reach them with the most enticing, seamless, consistent, and contextual experiences across all channels. Customers today are better informed and leverage online platforms when considering and completing purchases at physical stores. Hence, retailers should go beyond just the physical store setting in order to reach customers at the right time and place via online platforms.
The omnichannel approach via in-store Wi-Fi allows retailers to give the benefits of online shopping — ability to thoroughly research products, target specific searches based on color, size, brand, or place an order for a product, if it is out of stock in the store. This makes the purchasing process much more convenient for a shopper, thereby, giving an edge to the retailer over their competition in the shopper’s mind. [Tweet ” How Indian retailers can use Wi-Fi to engage customers better in-store”] Additional services powered by Wi-Fi, such as in-store navigation and location based offerings, also add to the advantage. You could also easily offer loyalty rewards to customers or reward returning customers in multiple ways via mobile devices. Offering rewards to your best customers helps in keeping them coming back for more. There are quite a few online applications, which can be accessed by shoppers via in-store Wi-Fi, to help them add products to shopping lists, find aisles for the specific items they are looking for, research their past purchases and discover new products. Combining navigation tools with product promotions greatly enhances shopping experiences. For example, Macy’s provides indoor navigation to customers at its massive flagship location in New York City’s Herald Square, via its app that uses a unique combination of GPS and Wi-Fi data.
5. It improves inventory management
One of the best things Wi-Fi technology does for retailers is help them with inventory management. Employees at larger stores use mobile devices to ring up sales, view competitors’ prices, and track inventory. This becomes a cumbersome process with room for error.
When Wi-Fi marketing platforms are combined with inventory management software, the technology alerts everyone from the purchasing manager to the end consumer when something is out of stock at a retail site, gives information regarding the place where it can be purchased locally, and tells if it is available to order online and when delivery can be expected. So, Wi-Fi delivers data directly from the warehouse to the database in real time. Retailers are slowly switching over to Wi-Fi technology for inventory management from cumbersome manually handled systems. For instance, Dunkin Donuts had switched to Wi-Fi for their warehouse inventory management long ago.
[Tweet “Learn how Wi-Fi improves inventory management”] Wi-Fi marketing provides retailers with many-fold benefits like crucial real-time information such as customer footfall and repeat visitor trends to optimize store layout, insights can be used in order to uncover the success of a promotional campaign, and much more. And, if your brand has not even begun toying with the idea of investing in Wi-Fi marketing, then you should consider this a wakeup call.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!