Looking ahead to the Golden Quarter – Digital Solutions to help you navigate the most challenging one yet

The period between October and December – otherwise known as retail’s ‘Golden Quarter’ – has historically generated huge opportunities for customers and retailers due to key events such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday Weekend, Christmas and Boxing Day sales falling in quick succession. Despite the addition to these events in the football World Cup, and for what should have been a period of much needed growth following the challenges of multiple lockdowns during 2020/21; this year sees retailers yet again facing unprecedented circumstances. As the cost-of-living crisis rages on, shoppers are increasingly tightening their budgets and curbing non-essential spends. All the while with business costs rising sharply, retailers are continuing to play their part by absorbing as much of the cost to the consumer as possible – by keeping prices as low as possible, helping households by offering discounts and loyalty schemes, introducing and expanding value ranges, and offering reduced-cost or free meals for children. We understand that this year’s festive period will be the hardest won yet, and retailers will be working even harder to secure customer spend. For this insight piece, we are taking a look at how our clients can adopt the necessary measurements and strategies to support their response to current and future retail trends by making the most of their services with us – helping them prepare for a Golden quarter like never before. 

The cost-of-living crisis has evidently highlighted a number of shifts in consumer behaviour beyond simply reducing the money spent on non-essential items. As experienced across the summer months and will likely continue as the Golden Quarter approaches, shoppers are becoming ever more considered in their purchasing behaviour –  not only wanting to pay less for what they are buying, but consistently demonstrating that they are willing to search around for the best deal. Retailers are trying to win in an increasingly price-driven market, which has recently manifested in a greater focus on ‘value’ ranges. All of the big grocers, as well as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Poundland, Boots and Superdrug have either introduced, significantly expanded or rebranded their value ranges as they seek to capture customer spend. Many retailers have also significantly rethought their festive offering in recognition of customers seeking more affordability and functionality rather than luxuries. For example, Next have slashed their partywear budget in favour of family, novelty and warmth, with items such as slippers, fleecy pyjamas and dressing gowns already seeing a surge in popularity. With consumers also more likely to be spending increased amounts of time at home to save money, they are also more likely to seek affordable feel-good purchases such as books, vinyl, kitchenware, home entertainment and health & beauty items. Festive ranges have also been introduced even earlier this year in anticipation of shoppers looking to spread the cost of their Christmas purchases over a longer period of time, meaning that visitor frequency will also likely be higher over the coming months. While the recent reports on the projected downturn in customer spend during the Golden Quarter may be discouraging, there are many ways in which landlords and their tenants can turn these trends into opportunities, and maximise the strength of their strategies by utilising their digital solutions. 

At Inkspotwifi, we offer a number of marketing solution which enable retailers and landlords to bridge their online offering with the physical shopping experience, and to integrate vital elements to support and strengthen the impact of their regeneration reports. The success of any marketing ventures undoubtedly depends on customer awareness, which in turn relies on advertising and on-site promotion. 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 latest business venture in partnership with Smart Outdoor has been to introduce a rapidly expanding network of small-format ‘D4’ digital screens into retail environments across the UK, which are ideal for internal retailer promotion opportunities. Our state-of-the-art 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 spending action 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.

Furthermore, our core business offering of free public WiFi further reinforces the effectiveness of retailer marketing campaigns, and is an essential integration for landlords looking to respond to new trends in visitor expectations. Digital agility within a physical retail environment has come to be considered a basic fundamental service – not just for hyper-connected Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, but for the vast majority of visitors who require internet connection throughout their shopping trip to check prices, redeem discount codes, open loyalty apps, pay for parking, or simply access information – all without having to dip into their own personal data. A free public WiFi service with Inkspotwifi provides landlords and retailers with so much more than simply enabling their visitors to access the internet. Not only does the service encourage guests to stay for longer and engage more fully with their surroundings, our innovative WiFi login portal provides landlords with the opportunity to monetise their network via 3rd party advertising; and internal retailers the chance to push their brand messaging to visitors as they connect to the internet. With 3 fully customisable slides available to host retailer branding AdCard enables our clients to boost interest and uptake in their call to action while offering customers a more compelling shopping experience.   

Each WiFi login also presents an opportunity for landlords to learn more from their audiences, which in turn empowers decision makers to tailor their premises, tenants and marketing strategies directly to their audience. The AdCard registration and connection page features an invaluable data capture device, enabling clients to collect names and postcodes, as well as hugely insightful demographic and behavioural statistics – ranging from gender, age, dwell times, time of visit and whether they are a first-time or returning visitor. Our user-friendly monthly analytics report equips our clients with the tools they need to recognise and gauge visitor trends which are essential to optimising the on-site shopping experience. Most importantly, we also enable our clients to collect visitor email addresses as part of the registration process, meaning that everyone who logs in to use the free WiFi service can be incorporated into retailer marketing plans, enabling them to keep their finger constantly on the pulse. 

By combining WiFi portal advertising, digital screen advertising, and a free WiFi service; landlords and tenants can greatly benefit from new and effective ways of capturing customer attention, as they have numerous platforms through which they can unlock and engage with retailer promotions and brand messaging throughout their shopping trip. With the flexibility our services offer – from refreshing content to measuring the results of campaigns – we offer retailers the chance to make the most out of their audiences, and generate genuine customer engagement and loyalty, even in the most challenging of times.