January is now in full swing. Inflation and economic uncertainty may have been the overarching theme of 2022 and the Golden Quarter period, but the New Year certainly brings new hope for the retail industry despite some initial challenges. After the pandemic-led disruption of 2020 and 2021 and the sharp rise in the cost of living in 2022, survival in 2023 will require even closer attention to key industry trends that are impacting how customers are buying, shopping, experiencing and communicating. For many retailers, finding a new balance will rely on a number of different tactics –from stock and range management to communicating in a more personalised way with their customers. Furthermore, the key to driving sales will be in understanding the needs of customers and creating retail experiences to help today’s cautious consumer feel comfortable spending. Here at Inkspotwifi, we offer our clients a number of ways in which to bolster their strategies for the year ahead – ranging from data collection and customer insights to digital marketing platforms for campaign management. In our January insight piece, we discuss how our clients can make the most out of their package with us, as well as how we can help to enhance your service further to help achieve those 2023 goals.
USE YOUR DATA
At Inkspotwifi, our core offering of providing public WiFi networks within retail environments provides an essential tool for our clients to maximise the customer experience. What is arguably even more beneficial to our partners is the data and analytics we enable them to collect via their WiFi service, and it is becoming more and more important that our clients engage with this invaluable source of customer insight, particularly as the trend for increased personalisation in marketing communications looks set to grow further in 2023.
There is no denying that loyalty is lucrative, and it is clear that loyalty is built through a combination of attractive deals and excellent customer service. Research institute Gartner found that 56% of consumers stated they were willing to forgo brands they’re loyal to for a good deal, suggesting that in the current climate, retailers will have to work even harder to retain their customers by scaling up their loyalty scheme exclusives and incentives. In order to provide the most relevant and attractive schemes to customers, landlords and tenants need to have a strong grasp of who their visitors are, and what they are looking for. The ability to build visitor profiles and to more closely personalise the schemes on offer will provide the best possible opportunity for retailers to engage and retain customers.
For our WiFi clients, each connection to the network presents an opportunity for landlords to learn more from their audiences, which in turn empowers the decision makers to tailor their premises, tenant types and marketing strategies more directly to their visitors. The WiFi registration and connection page features an instrumental data capture device, enabling our clients to collect a range of useful information which can be used in a multitude of ways.
Perhaps most importantly, our data capture asks visitors to provide their email address. For a number of shopper demographics, email marketing remains one of the most successful methods of communicating and engaging with customers post-visit. By having the ability to touch base with visitors shortly after their shopping trip, and being able to easily communicate exciting offers, events and services on a regular basis is a highly effective method of boosting customer engagement and the potential for repeat visits. Similarly, by being able to collect visitor postcodes also helps sites to better understand the provenance of their shoppers and the ratio of locals to outside visitors – in turn helping to determine the type of schemes which may best attract their audiences. Furthermore, our data capture portal also allows our clients to collect hugely insightful demographic and behavioural statistics including visitor gender, age range, dwell times, time of visit and whether they are a first-time or returning visitor – helping them to build a strong picture of their audiences and their shopping habits. Our user-friendly analytics reports can be accessed and downloaded at any time, empowering our clients to work this information in to their marketing and future planning strategies, and to pass on invaluable customer information to their tenants to help boost performance.
We strongly encourage our clients to download their analytics reports each month, and would be delighted to provide refresher sessions on how to access and best utilise their data. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us!
EXPAND YOUR ONSITE PUBLIC WIFI NETWORK
With mobile devices being more closely aligned with the shopping process than ever before, a reliable digital connection at all times is undeniably an essential on-site amenity. The vast majority of visitors require an internet connection to check prices, redeem discount codes, open loyalty apps, pay for parking, or simply access information – preferably without having to dip into their own personal data. These basic activities are now considered to be habitual elements of the shopping experience, and the inability to carry these activities out can have potentially detrimental impacts on the customer experience, as well as visitor loyalty. Particularly at peak times in the retail calendar – such as Christmas, Valentines and the school summer holidays – the inability to perform these simple activities can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, leading to shorter shopping trips and smaller basket sizes. However, a significant number of shopping centres, retail parks and high streets across the UK are missing out on vital revenue due to their inability to provide customers with an adequate mobile signal, or access to 3, 4 & 5G connectivity while onsite – predominantly in areas such as basement and outdoor carparks and new on-site EV charge points. The frustrations caused to visitors by this lack of connectivity undeniably necessitates the continued investment in free public WiFi networks – not only to enable physical retail locations to fully optimise the customer experience, but also to ensure these environments remain an attractive destination for consumers.
Many of our existing clients provide a free WiFi service throughout their precincts, covering areas of high footfall and long dwell times – with many clients now expanding their network into their on-site carparks to ensure the best possible coverage across their visitor catchment area. We believe this is a hugely important step for ensuring the customer journey is as smooth as possible, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to drive footfall by encouraging visitors to engage with facilities, services and businesses within the vicinity.
Forecourt Trader recently reported that December saw battery and hybrid electric vehicles claimed their largest ever monthly market share – now second only to petrol vehicles. In response to this huge demand, schemes to rapidly roll out EV charge points are currently in full swing – with many shopping centres, retail parks and town centres adopting them as an additional means of generating revenue. With the average dwell time at ultra-fast EV charge points being around 35 minutes, it is imperative that this time is not wasted, and the opportunities presented by additional captive audiences are taken advantage of. For example, a public WiFi service could enable drivers to order food to their vehicle, or an engaging ad served on the connection portal could encourage drivers to leave their car to check out a nearby shop. Personalised incentives – particularly for customers who are already taking part in loyalty programs offered by EV charging apps – will have a fantastic impact on driving footfall for local businesses. With ease of connectivity for mobile payments and app downloads without forcing visitors to use their personal data allowances, providing an extended public WiFi network to your on-site car park is a low cost, quick to install solution for retail environments to scale up their engagement strategy.
ENGAGE VISITORS WITH DIGITAL SCREENS
Alongside our AdCard WiFi connection portal, we offer state-of-the-art small format digital screens to further empower retailers and landlords to bridge their online offering with the physical shopping experience. Whether it’s promoting an exciting in-store event, broadcasting exciting discounts and offers, communicating covid-protocols, or sharing your services and facilities – highly engaging messages featuring contextual content and target audiences in close proximity to the point of purchase has unparalleled potential to inform and influence spending behaviour. By adopting and incorporating digital out-of-home advertising formats as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy, retailers have the opportunity to yield significant results in terms of loyalty and retention.
Our SmartSanitiser digital panels are perfect for positioning at entrances and exits, bathroom facilities, seating areas and other high-traffic spaces – and are strategically located to display brand messaging, promotions and offers at multiple key points throughout the customer journey. We have created unmissable opportunities for retailers to capture attention and influence customer behaviour during their visit and beyond, with the ability to display dynamic, vibrant and ultra-contextual visual content. With QR code integration, our screens unlock vast potential for internal retailers to bolster their call-to-action, and encourage direct engagement with shoppers in proximity to brand messaging. We are proud to have displayed a range of landlord content on our digital screens, and are always keen to encourage our centre managers to take advantage of their complimentary content slide to help spread the word of their services, facilities and offerings. We also offer a discounted internal retailer advertising rate, to help tenants make the most of their audiences whilst onsite.
Advertising on your internal digital screens couldn’t be easier – simply send us your creatives, and we will do the rest! If you would like to learn more about how SmartSanitiser can enhance the customer experience; keep your centre covid-safe; AND provide landlords with an additional source of income – contact us today to find out more!