25 Apr The Social Shopper: Why WiFi Matters to Your Shop’s Future
Once upon a time, shopping was an event: car parking, queues, coffees, browsing, bags and friends. Today, shopping is an activity: surfing, online browsing, trend-spotting, blogging, e-commerce and next day deliveries.
In the UK alone, e-commerce sales are expected to hit £44.97 bn in 2014, up 15.8% from £38.83 bn in 2013.
Whilst this shift from physical to digital shopping might have taken years and years, the pace of change in recent years has been substantial.
For example, sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain are expected to reach a combined total of £111.2 bn in 2014. In the UK alone, e-commerce sales are expected to hit £44.97 bn in 2014, up 15.8% from £38.83 bn in 2013*.
This is a tremendous growth rate and it is showing no signs of slowing down.
So what does this mean to you as a retail manager or marketer in the retail sector?
Well for one, it means it can’t be ignored. Late adopters of online e-commerce shopping will find it challenging to match the force and pace of competitors who have already started, but this is obvious.
What is not so obvious is that online shopping in isolation will not win out. It can’t function as the sole method of transacting sales. People still buy from people. We’re tactile creatures and we like to see, touch, feel and try clothes, products and cars.
Not everything can be bought online and the true challenge for retailers then is not to push their entire shopping cart online, but to ensure their physical shop presence develops in the way customers want: it needs to develop the experience people are seeking.
Social WiFi is one of many possible bridges in this sense. Customers expect WiFi and more than that, they expect it for free! When they go shopping in town, they use WiFi to connect with friends, search for comparative prices, stay up to date with news.
We’re data hungry and WiFi is a key component of staying connected.
Imagine, then, being able to tap into this connectivity and engage directly with your customers: show them new items in your store, provide them offers they in particular would like, entice them into to being part of the experience you have created in store.
This is what social WiFi is all about.