I still haven’t decided whether I’ll be braving the crowds and shopping in the store on Black Friday, or if I’m going to wait until Cyber Monday to buy my holiday gifts. Regardless of my choice, there are still going to be a lot of people buying things in the coming week—over 165 million people are likely to partake in the 2019 pre-holiday sales.
I was surprised to learn that although online sales have been trending upwards—it’s expected to grow 11% this year—the majority of the forecasted $730M in sales this year will be from those hitting the stores this coming week. I’ve chosen to stay home and shop from the comfort of my sofa the last few years mostly due to the fact that I had very young kids.
This year, now that the kids are little older, perhaps I’ll join my fellow shoppers in store with the hopes of finding the perfect gifts for family and friends. But how can the in-store experience be as efficient and customized to my needs as its sophisticated online counterpart?
This is my wish list for retailers:
#1. Fast and easy Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is essential anywhere your consumers go. When I’m at the store, I want to be able to send pictures of what I might buy to my friends or even interact with video chat. For your customers, looking up prices online and being able to compare prices is also a must. I can do that very easily at home, so the network connection in your store is essential. Some stores have poor cell reception so if the store provides great Wi-Fi, brand loyalty will increase.
Cisco can help: Cisco wireless solutions allow stores like yours the ability to provide Wi-Fi to guests using either the captive portal through Cisco DNA Spaces or through OpenRoaming. The Captive Portal helps retailers capture customer information. OpenRoaming makes it very simple for your costumers who already have an identity with the OpenRoaming Federation, a group made up of identity and Wi-Fi providers, to get online seamlessly. Customers don’t have to worry about switching from LTE to Wi-Fi, OpenRoaming automatically does it for them.
#2. Personalized & customized experience
When I’m online, the website knows exactly what and when I purchased based on my order history. If it’s an expendable item, the website might ask if I need to reorder. ‘Suggested for you’ features help me find items within my style in a sea of products. It would be great when customers walk into your store, if they’re shown items that may be of interest. Everyone has different retailer apps on their phone – wouldn’t it be great if the app sent notifications on coupons and deals on items that they’re looking for?
Cisco can help: Cisco DNA Spaces can do this in two different ways. It is integrated with Webex Teams so that Teams can send a notification to the store manager that a particular customer has walked into the store and they can provide a customized and personalized experience. Another way is through Cisco DNA Spaces and its Engage App, which will send notifications to users based on their location with information that is timely for that customer.
#3. Real-time feedback
I believe in providing feedback, especially to my favorite brands. When I had a great experience due to an employee who went above and beyond, I often let their managers know. If there was an issue that needs to be addressed, I would also like a way to report in a discrete manner. I don’t think I’m alone in doing this either, customers always want an opportunity to send feedback.
Cisco can help: With partner LocalMeasure, you can get feedback via a survey while a customer is shopping in the store. If a shopper is having a negative experience, you or the store manager can be notified to address the issue in a timely manner.
#4. Easy wayfinding
Have you ever been lost in a mall? I certainly have! Yes, there are maps in the mall but they can still be hard to navigate, especially if it’s my first time there and if it’s a large mall with hundreds of stores. No one gets lost shopping online. If retailers can do the same in the physical space, it would save me time and increase my propensity to spend.
Cisco can help: Cisco DNA Spaces along with partner MazeMap and Cisco wireless technologies can help locate where shoppers are in the vast physical mall space and provide step by step instructions to get to a location. That just gives shoppers more time to shop!
#5. Impact Analysis
Once shop owners are done with the Christmas season, it’s important to ask a few questions to see whether it was a success. How do you know if an event or intervention impacted shopping behavior? Did shoppers spend more time or less time in store during Black Friday or how about the entire Christmas shopping period? Did the change in store layout result in a change in dwell time? Also which promotion worked best in getting customers to visit the store or to spend more time? The answers to these questions can help prepare for next year.
Cisco can help: The Impact Analysis app can answer all of these queries and more. Available on the Cisco DNA Spaces dashboard, this interactive app enables shop managers to measure the impact of any planned events, such as promotions or layout change, and unplanned events like the beginning of holidays or business impact due to inclimate weather. It also enables the ability to make informed intervention choices by measuring the relative impact of two or more options via A/B testing.