Thursday, February 19, 2015
Study Finds 28 Percent of Retailers Report Increased Customer Loyalty Due to In-Store WiFi
EarthLink Holdings Corp, a leading managed network and cloud solutions provider for multi-location businesses, experts from research consultants IHL Group and cloud-managed WiFi solutions provider AirTight Networks recently partnered to conduct a study investigating the retail industry's use of and plans for store networking, WiFi, security and engagement.
The study found that 28 percent of retailers have experienced increased customer loyalty as a result of deploying in-store WiFi capabilities, according to the press release.
Preliminary results were released in a presentation as part of the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & EXPO.
As a December “sneak peak” blog post explained, “despite the proliferation of technology in the marketplace, there’s a dearth of credible sources of information concerning basic things like WiFi, mobility, store networking and the consumer experience in the age of expanded tech. What our study aims to do is fill in these gaps and get some real facts on the table. The study will highlight the current state of investments in WiFi and store networks, the applications, business and customer experience benefits achieved, and examples of best practices. It will also introduce a new benchmarking tool retailers can use to compare their readiness against other retailers and restaurateurs.”
The research also revealed that 82 percent of large to medium-sized retail participants have already deployed in-store WiFi; 57 percent of enterprise retail participants offer both customer and employee WiFi; and 70 percent of retailers currently reported outsourcing their store level WAN to managed service providers (MSPs).
The study also showed that 34 percent of retailers are planning to update their store level WiFi technologies during 2015.
"Our goal with this study is to establish actionable benchmark numbers that help retail IT executives compare the state of their store technology against others in the industry. As many plan to invest in technologies like in-store WiFi, payment systems, PCI compliance and security to keep customers loyal while protecting their data, it's important to understand the benefits and challenges others have already experienced," Greg Buzek, IHL, explained in the release.
After final analysis of the data has been completed, IHL, EarthLink and AirTight will release a benchmarking tool to reveal marks for comparison, best practices, and aids for developing a technology roadmap that differentiates the store experience and supports business growth objectives.
"Research findings show that retail has the necessary infrastructure in place and is poised for growth around multichannel engagement using in-store WiFi," Kevin McCauley, Director of Retail Market Development, AirTight Networks, said in the release. "The companies that implement within the next year will have first mover advantage to perfect their engagement strategies. The forthcoming benchmarking tool will help retailers cut through the complexity around that."
EarthLink provides managed network, security and cloud solutions for multi-location businesses. AirTight Networks is the global leader in comprehensive cloud WiFi solutions. IHL Group is a global research and advisory firm that provides market analysis and business consulting services for retailers and information technology companies that focus on the retail industry.