Could an online offering in store revive the high street?

It’s now very clear that integrating the convenience of online services with the in store experience is a winning combination and could well be the answer to a high street that is currently under threat. Click & Collect services alone have been shown to contribute to incremental sales, as customers who come to pick up purchased goods then buy more in store. Vodat investigates the online tech that will transform high street shopping…

Free customer WiFi in store

Encouraging customers to interact with the store or brand via the network whilst in store brings with it a plethora of benefits. Retailers can identify customers that shop in store and capture data on customer shopping behaviours across channels. This data can be used to understand how individual customers chose specific channels to browse and others to purchase, looking into details such as how and what they like to buy. As a result, marketing can become more targeted to customer’s wants and needs, driving loyalty and in turn sales.

MPoS in store

Mobile PoS in store enables customers to search the entire product range whether it’s stocked in that store or not, so if the desired merchandise isn’t available in the correct colour or size it can be searched for online via a tablet device and ordered then and there, resulting in a satisfied customer and secured sale.

Click & collect services

Click & collect has become an in demand customer service and as a result widely adopted by retailers. It delivers the ultimate convenience in deciding when and where customers can collect their purchase, as opposed to waiting around for hours on end for the delivery man to arrive or having to make a trip to the local post depot.

Customers like the ease at which they can search for, browse and compare products online, but they like the experience of visiting a store to view and try products before buying. It’s a win-win situation.

All of this technology is underpinned by the in store network. For which a professional and scalable WiFi solution is required, capable of managing multiple devices, rich functionality and spikes in data traffic, whilst keeping private data separate from guest access for obvious security purposes – however both should be managed on the one network to reduce the complexity and cost of running multiple networks.

How Mobile brings retail channels together

Critics are rejecting the idea that retailers are operating in an omni channel world; they claim that most retailers are still not even multi-channel, saying that they may have optimised their operations and communications through each channel, but not across channels. Mobile is clearly one of the ways in which retailers can provide a consistent, seamless experience to customers, almost regardless of the channels.

Retailers can use mobile devices in various ways to interact with customers and improve their experience, from tablets used in-store for mobile PoS, visual displays and online services, to sending electronic coupons and gift vouchers to a customer’s phone, keeping them updated on offers.

For instance, in store, tablets connected to the internet via WiFi are a great way for retailers to offer their entire product offering, where previously they could only offer a limited range. This delivers better variety and availability of products which in turn helps drive sales.

A great example of this is our recent project with Reiss, the international men and women’s fashion brand, which has introduced iPads across all UK and US stores with a new fully managed WiFi network, in a bid to complement its multichannel offering and give customers full visibility of its entire product range.

Mobile gift vouchers are a great way of building customer loyalty and enticing customers back in store. Typically, the best deals are available online, so mobile vouchers play an important part in customers feeling that they can also receive good value for money in store. A step up from this is using mobile for up selling, if retailers can identify specific customer purchases, a mobile teaser campaign can be launched to promote products related to their purchase.

Another method of delivering vouchers to customers via mobile is the use of push notifications. When a customer is within close proximity to a store, a direct message can be sent via short-range networks such as Bluetooth, with offers and discounts to persuade them to venture in.

A great example of the use of mobile technology in retail is the recent project with Reiss, the international men and women’s fashion brand, who has introduced iPads across all UK and US stores with a new fully managed WiFi network in a bid to complement its multichannel offering and give customers full visibility of its entire product range in-store.