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How Wi-Fi Is Impacting the Retail Customer Experience

A positive retail customer experience now often depends on RELIABLE, in-store Wi-Fi access

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Retailers know that pleasing the customer is essential for retention and growth. And creating an optimal customer experience requires incorporating personalization tactics that give people exactly what they want and when. Brands must understand expectations and meet them.

The onsite Wi-Fi experience goes hand-in-hand with purchases and customer sentiment about a brand. Today’s consumers want to stay connected no matter where they are, including when looking for and evaluating products in a physical store. Retailers are thus wise to improve their approach to Wi-Fi.

Here is a guide to understanding and improving the retail customer experience with better Wi-Fi.

What is the retail customer experience?

A customer experience summarizes how a consumer feels about a brand after interacting with them in some way. For the retail industry, it means: 

  • How they felt about customer service
  • The quality of the products they purchased
  • The availability of products they’re looking for
  • Whether their expectations were met or exceeded
  • Whether they felt understood or supported by the brand
  • A website’s ease of use
  • The atmosphere of an in-person store

Retailers ranging from car dealers to clothing stores to supermarkets focus on improving the customer experience, extending from their online presence to in-store interactions and purchases. Customers want all interactions to be seamless, easy, and full of choices personalized to their needs.

According to a Salesforce survey, 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 68% expect brands to show empathy. Over half of customers want and expect company offers to be personalized.

Why is the Wi-Fi experience important for modern buyers?

The emergence of Wi-Fi access in every space imaginable has significantly impacted many industries, including retail. Pew Research reports that almost all Americans (97%) own a cellphone, and 85% of the population has a smartphone. People expect to be connected no matter where they are, including in brick-and-mortar stores.

Smartphone shopping has become the norm for today's buyers: 82% of consumers check their smartphones in the store before purchasing something. And half of customers say they’re comfortable making a large purchase in a store if Wi-Fi is available.

Wi-Fi adds immense value for shoppers and directly influences whether many of them will buy. But that value isn’t realized unless the Wi-Fi experience is seamless. People don’t want to deal with slow loading times or failing captive portals just to look up a product or use the internet for other reasons while they shop.

How to ensure Wi-Fi never fails your customers

Onsite retail Wi-Fi should never frustrate customers—otherwise, it’s impossible to maintain positive experiences while they’re shopping. So, what can you do to improve WLAN performance and the overall customer experience?

Consider the benefits of free Wi-Fi

Customers love the option to connect to in-store Wi-Fi, but only if it’s easily accessible and free. They’re more likely to visit and stay longer in a space with internet access, and they’ll be more satisfied with their experience. That satisfaction influences how they view the brand, and they’ll be more likely to return to the store in the future.

Plan Wi-Fi design carefully

A significant reason someone wants to connect to in-store Wi-Fi is to look up a product’s information, location, availability, or reviews. But customers also want to do other activities on-premises, like share their experience on social media, send messages via the internet, or use online banking apps. Ensure the guest Wi-Fi can support these activities with sufficient bandwidth, carefully planning access point numbers and placement, and other elements.

Create a great website experience

Because many consumers browse products on their phones while in a store, their experience needs to be seamless. Remember that people aren’t just going to buy products on their laptops or computers: 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their mobile device in the last six months. So, make sure the website is mobile-friendly and the inventory review and checkout processes are easy to navigate. 

Incorporate optimization tools

Gaining visibility into network performance — specifically, how clients experience it — is crucial for maintaining high-performing Wi-Fi. Wireless experience monitoring solutions from 7SIGNAL allow retailers to understand what it’s like to be connected to the WLAN at any given moment. You can run continuous tests and get to the bottom of any issues much faster. 

Why use 7SIGNAL’s optimization platform?

7SIGNAL understands how important it is to maintain a positive customer experience and how high-performing Wi-Fi helps retailers achieve this goal. And not only do customer devices need to connect, but inventory management and point-of-sale devices need consistent connectivity and performance for optimal service and sales. Learn more about our retail solutions here