Retail spaces are in a state of significant commercial need to draw more customers into their brick and mortar stores. The UK’s high streets suffered 5,855 store closures in 2017, more than any year since 2010, with the pace of closures increasing substantially in the second half of the year, reflecting the switch to online shopping, combined with rising staff and business rate costs.
The month-on-month volatility in the retail sector means we have seen big names like Toys R Us and Bargain Booze owner Conviviality falling into administration, while fashion retailer New Look is also closing dozens of stores in a big restructure. The challenges these retailers are facing reflect a change in culture towards enjoying experiences rather than buying products, which means retail footfall is quickly becoming an endangered commodity.
Over the past ten-years, most brands have focused on addressing their digital transformation to meet the rising needs of internet and social media shoppers. Whilst this has been essential, it does mean, however, that many have neglected the growing consumer expectation of delivering a fully integrated customer experience. Here lies an opportunity for retailers – delivering an exceptional experience by driving in-store innovation will make the shopping experience easier, faster and more integrated with the growing online shopping and delivery experience.
The industry is making its move to all things wireless – all but one of the top mobile OEMs have made a commitment to Qi wireless charging and we’re predicting to see Apple launch Airpower at its keynote in mid-September. Supplying the demand of wireless charging will become a persuasive tactic in driving footfall. Providing an around-the-clock, smart solution to connectivity will give brands the opportunity to not only drive footfall and increase in-store dwell time but it also provides the opportunity to monetise on power by giving real-time data insights through people’s connection.
So, how can wireless charging capability help improve marketing strategy?
Personalise customer service to a micro level
The race for consumer loyalty and engagement is front of mind for all retail businesses, particularly with the added challenges presented by newly implemented GDPR regulations.
Mass deployment of convenient, smart wireless power will be key for businesses to support this truly mobile experience at an individualised level. Not just in terms of meeting the need to charge, but also to manage wireless power at scale and as a gateway to store services when customers are on site. Data provided via smart wireless charging can pinpoint the exact location of any customer, and depending on how furniture is arranged, brands are able to make informed assumptions on which direction the user is facing. This knowledge then offers the opportunity to strategise how messages are placed in order to both display messaging in a highly relevant fashion and enhance the customer experience. This added layer of data informs how a retail store should be laid out to maximise ROI, in a way that Wi-Fi and beacons cannot due to accuracy limitations. As a marketer looking to increase store footfall and experience, the potential to glean information on what product is attracting most attention as per ‘gaze time’ is priceless. It then becomes possible to implement messaging on digital signage – tailored on a consumer-by-consumer basis – at a specific time when the consumer is in store and at the key moment of conversion when a customer is positioned in front of the product. This will create a highly relevant and more engaging customer experience which will increase satisfaction and revenue.
Chargifi’s SmartSpot connectivity to the cloud provides insight to real-time consumer behavior data and will give businesses the opportunity to dynamically respond to buyer behavior. Sharing deals via push notifications with consumers in store, for example, will create a personalised experience, improve loyalty and drive revenue.
Increase dwell time and revenue
One of the benefits of wireless technology is its ability to capture a more receptive audience – interaction is guaranteed when you are servicing an existing need. Footfall or dwell time increase due to wireless power has the potential to create a point of difference.
Encouraging people to come in, sit down and spend money is more important than ever – particularly for the hospitality industry that is so reliant on customers physically being on site. In our most recent deployment in a global hotel brand’s bar area – we saw a 64% increase in revenue, with the average charging session lasting 50 minutes.
Guaranteed service reliability
If a brand has a chain of locations then our platform helps to manage and monitor charging hotspots in real-time, and our self-healing technology can fix hotspots remotely. This reduces the need for expensive servicing, and ensures customers enjoy a pain-free wireless charging experience.
This autumn will be a monumental moment for the wireless charging industry. There’s no doubt about it – tech talks. If consumers choose to stay in an establishment for longer because of guaranteed Wi-Fi connection, just think what they might do in order to keep their devices charged? Power has now entered into the ‘basic requirements’ category.
The benefits for brands are huge. Imagine being able to access mobile location data from wireless charging points across a hotel – potentially 100 rooms, a lobby and leisure facilities – multiply this across the UK and you could reach thousands of consumers.
Wireless charging is already available in a small number of laptops and this will become the case more extensively in a broader range of devices – and even cars – over the coming years. Because of this, there will be increasing opportunities for brands to target an individual in the workspace, at home, socially or on the move. Through improving the customer experience, brands can create inspiring spaces and drive up footfall, while also generating usable, actionable customer data.