73% of retail customers in a nationwide study were found to use multiple channels as part of their shopping journey; i.e. they were omnichannel customers (Source: Harvard Business Review). This compelling statistic drives home the importance for businesses to make the shift towards digitalization as soon as possible. Providing customers with consistent, personalized, and a contextually aware journey can make a world of difference.
For brick-and-mortar venues, smart WiFi and location-based analytics can go a long way in providing an optimized customer user experience. Coupled with IoT (Internet of Things) tech like smart beacons and an effective online presence, brick-and-mortar venues, particularly retailers, can use WiFi solutions to propel their business to the next level.
Here, we’ll explore precisely what digitalization entails, what it can do for brick-and-mortar venues, and how WiFi serves as a cornerstone to enable digitalization.
What does digitalization encompass?
While some use the term ambiguously and confusingly, Gartner correctly defines digitalization as the use of digital technology to change a business model and enable new revenue streams and ways to produce value. It is this tangible, measurable, and practical definition of digitalization we’re interested in.
While this definition may today be a bit broad, the following examples will help conceptualize the improvements digitalization brings about. Suppose that in the past, your venue set up floor maps based on the input of a few experts, but never measured and assessed the effectiveness. A digitalization effort may have you leverage IoT cameras and beacons, creating heat maps to understand better how foot traffic flows. Similarly, if your sales campaigns have traditionally been created with broad strokes, social WiFi (allowing customers to connect to WiFi using a social media account) could be used to deliver targeted highly relevant messaging more likely to convert to sales.
Just how important is digitalization? A Gartner CEO survey found that 47% of CEOs were being pressured by their board to make progress related to digital initiatives. 56% of those surveyed said digital investments improved net profit.
How WiFi drives the creation of new customer relationships & improved User eXperience
From the perspective of a brick-and-mortar venue, WiFi solutions and WiFi marketing are a vital part of digital business transformation, focusing on omnichannel marketing and customer experience. By leveraging the right mix of WiFi & IoT Technology, brick-and-mortar venues can improve the overall existing customer journey, while attracting new customers.
How does intelligent WiFi help in this regard? When it comes to omnichannel marketing, WiFi connectivity does three key things:
1) Attracts people to your venue (or at least keeps them entertained while they’re around)– Let’s call this the “Starbucks Effect”. All else being equal, free WiFi can be the difference between foot traffic entering an establishment or walking by. For venues where your customers may have no choice but to stick around for a bit (e.g., airports), WiFi provides them with a means to stay entertained or be productive while they wait.
2) Provides you with a wealth of data– By providing free social WiFi, you can capture a wealth of data on potential customers. Not only does this enable the personalized campaigns we’ll mention below, but it also allows you to identify trends, preferences, and behaviors you may have otherwise been completely unaware of. For example, coupled with IoT, you can use free WiFi to capture granular data on dwell time and foot traffic patterns.
3) Provides a means to deliver personalized messaging– When you understand who your customers are and can correlate data points related to their preferences and behavior to who has connected to WiFi, you can create highly targeted campaigns. The classic example of this is sending a coupon to a user that has exhibited interest in a given product (based on dwell time, location analytics, or web browsing).
How Queentessence can help you get the most out of WiFi intelligence and digitalization in the brick-and-mortar space
We spent the previous fourteen years, providing WiFi solutions to world-class venues ourselves.
We developed our Andromeda (beta) prototype cloud-based analytics solution to be the holistic guest WiFi management platform we know will fit future market evolutions.
Our experience and innovative thinking now allow practical solutions that can deliver real-world value, like our patented “Pre-roll” WiFi technology (U.S. Patent 7,734,283).
With Andromeda, we help businesses move towards digitalization by:
· Making WiFi & Captive Portal management simple– Unnecessary complexity is a barrier to productivity and business value. Andromeda’s dashboard is designed with modularity and intuitiveness in mind. Onboarding can occur in minutes, and the SaaS (Software as a Service) delivery model does away with most geographic restrictions. Global organizations can easily manage venues worldwide. Andromeda’s Powerful Splash Page Editor also enables drag-and-drop configuration of Captive Portals with many features to choose from, such as our “Pre-roll” technology. The latest offers the display of promotional content before users are being authenticated.
· Turning aggregated data into actionable insights- Data aggregation is the easy part. The real challenge is providing venues with actionable insights based on the data collected using intelligent WiFi. Andromeda uses A.I. (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to take uncurated data and transform it to easy to consume and actionable information.
· Providing extensibility and support for a variety of WiFi vendors- Our broad list of supported vendors includes Cisco Meraki, Aerohive Networks, Riverbed, Ubiquiti Networks, Aruba, and more. We are continually expanding our list as well, so let us know if you’re looking for a specific vendor that may not be on the current list.
· Ensuring security – If your guest WiFi isn’t secure, customers will be less willing to connect. Andromeda includes a DNS analytics feature that restricts access to content flagged as posing a threat, reducing malware risk, and providing by the same token an additional channel for behavioral analytics.
· Delivering General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance– Individual data privacy isn’t just on the verge of becoming crucial from a legal standpoint; it is as essential ethically as well. Respecting users’ privacy is a must. Queentessence provides a GDPR compliant managed guest WiFi solution.
Conclusion: For brick-and-mortar businesses, WiFi is a vital part of becoming a digital business
As we have seen, digitalization and omnichannel marketing catalyze improved customer experience and business outcomes. For brick-and-mortar venues, intelligent WiFi is a fundamental component of maximizing the benefits of digitalization. To reap the benefits of becoming a digital business, organizations need to leverage the ever-important WiFi touchpoint as part of their omnichannel marketing strategy.
Interested in learning more about WiFi and digitalization? We’d love to hear from you!
Here at Queentessence, we’re passionate about providing managed guest WiFi solutions that solve real problems and deliver value to venues and managed service providers alike. If you’d like to discuss what Queentessence can do for you or want to learn more about smart WiFi and digitalization for brick-and-mortar venues, contact us today!