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The Role of Wi-Fi in Retail

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By Robbie Kruger, Associate Director, Industry Management



What is the role of Wi-Fi in the digitally connected and challenged retail environment?


Is it a productivity enabler, a new service for customers to consume whilst in store or is it an all-encompassing business enabler?


The answer is “the all-encompassing business enabler”. Wi-Fi has always been a productivity enabler for specific tasks such as inventory management within the store or distribution centre, but as mobile solutions become less expensive and customers have adopted Wi-Fi enabled smart devices, the role of Wi-Fi has expanded.


For customers in-store it delivers a service to either assist them in their purchasing journey or means of entertainment. Wi-Fi can identify when a customer enters the store, deliver personalised offers or messaging as well as alert staff you have arrived for an appointment or pick-up—enhancing the customer experience.


For retailers it provides:


-          Insights into customer behaviour in store – when a customer enters the store, their number of repeat visits and their physical and digital behaviour,  which can be used for future marketing activities;


 -   Connectivity for staff and in-store technologies


-   Staff who are equipped with mobile tools can engage customers in new personalised approaches.  Staff can transact with a customer anywhere in store delivering knowledgeable and personalised service.  The financial transaction can be processed anywhere in store rather than having to go back to a desk, counter or even back office to complete. They can also be alerted to events occurring within the store. (ie VIP customer walked into the store or next appointment has just arrived)


-   Telephony, Digital signage, security cameras, alarming and other technologies can simply and seamlessly be delivered, supported, managed and maintained over this single technology.


The role Wi-Fi plays is endless.  However, as its role expands, additional controls need to be put in place to support your business strategy. For example, use policies need to be enacted to deliver consistent user experience aligned for all demographics to ensure you don’t leave your business open to misuse of the wireless network.


Security is vital to protect corporate assets and information from the threat of attacks.


And you need to be vigilant on service management and performance. As customer adoption and information access increases (such as with more video content being viewed) your service needs to grow with the demand and balanced against your security posture.


Discover how Optus is assisting retail organisations with Optus Retail Insights.


This blog was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

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About the Author
Twenty years of technical and business expertise means Robbie Kruger is ideally positioned to work with Optus Business customers on strategy. Robbie's experience and contacts span a range of industries, including financial services, retail and media. He has advised companies undergoing profound structural change on how to use technology to transform their business models and remain relevant in the digital age. "I work with executives and managers to understand the business drivers of their organisations and how Optus Business can help them achieve their corporate objectives," Robbie says. "By talking to people in business divisions such as marketing, sales and procurement, I gain a broad perspective about where we can add value." Robbie's two decades of experience spans sales and technical practices at organisations across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region. Before joining Optus Business, Robbie was Chief Technology Officer at Communications company Avaya's Asia-Pacific business.