Author: Dave Norwood
With current Wi-Fi technologies we can actually detect where someone is within a store, or mall. For example, when they’re walking by the Apple Store we can, if they’re using the mall Wi-Fi, have a pop up ad that reads, “For the next 30 minutes there’s a 20% off sale on iPads,” or “There’s no waiting at the Genius Bar.” We can advertise live, based off of proximity, where they are in the mall and draw people into stores. If you’re an owner of that mall, it’s something you can sell as a benefit for tenants to move into your facility. You can offer, maybe for a fee, to advertise and draw people into their store. If you’re in a single tenant situation, like a big sports store, we can apply that same kind of technology. If someone is hanging out in the fitness area, perhaps you offer yoga classes or some other fitness service they may not be aware of, you can have that pop up on their mobile device and let them know about that service. If they’re hanging out in the golf equipment section, you can offer golf classes, etc. Again, the ability to use targeted advertising based off of their proximity within the building.
2. Customer Information and Product Specifications
If the customer is looking at a particular product in your store, you want to be able to easily feed them information. Perhaps you have a help button available, so when they press it, instead of them being frustrated because they can’t find a sales associate, they can self-help. Not only have you saved that staffing expense of having people wander the floor trying to help customers randomly, you’ve increased customer satisfaction. If they can get their assistance quickly using technology— that’s a positive. Now, you’ve saved money as well as increased customer satisfaction by being able to make information available at their fingertips.
3. Better Customer Experience
The basic feature of wireless is access. If you give your customer access to the internet and to applications, they’re going to be happier. That means they’re going to stick around longer, so you have a better customer experience. The classic example is the husband and wife are shopping, perhaps the husband or the wife gets bored. They’re in an area they’re not interested, like the hardware department and the husband is bored to tears, and the wife is looking for her new sawzall. The husband can go check the football scores, can watch a game. Instead of trying to drag her out of that store and hurrying her along, which can obviously mean less or missed sales. He’s relaxed, he’s watching his football or soccer game, and not hurrying to get out of that retail outlet. The more amenities you can provide your client, and wireless is a real cost effective and almost expected amenity now days, the longer the customer will stay, the better their customer experience.
4. Mobile Point of Sale
This is starting to take off, it’s the ability to have a cashier be mobile. That cashier is walking the floor, now performing two functions. Number one, helping customers, they need some help, they have a question, “is there some of this in stock?” that cashier is not locked to a register at the front of the store. Number two, when that customer is ready to check out, we have that bar code scanner right on our side. We can scan that product, slide their credit card and send them on their merry way without them having to stand in line and go through a traditional check out. Obviously there are some logistics here, you have to make sure that your store can take advantage of this technology, but we’re seeing it more and more where the cashier is now a mobile resource that can check someone out anywhere in the store.
5. Inventory/ Price Checks
We can actually have the user check inventory right there, all by themselves using their own phone. They can do a price check. Example, an item is not properly labeled, they can’t tell how much it costs. How frustrating is it for someone when there’s a product they’re interested in and there’s no price tag? They’re wandering around trying to find an associate to help scan it and tell them how much it is. How convenient would it be for them to scan the bar code and your system to kick out, not only the price but how many are in stock, or if there are other colors or variants? We’ve seen this is the past with the fixed scanners in the store, but those are, again, fixed. They’re very expensive and usually few and far between. Now, with this technology everyone’s phone is a scanner and they can scan that product, get inventory, price checks, options, etc.