In the comments to my earlier blog post (Social Wi-Fi and Privacy: Keeping Balance in the Force), Dale Rapp correctly notes that brick and mortar stores can use social Wi-Fi and analytics as a way to compete with online commerce, where every click of the mouse is tracked and scrutinized.
It’s been my experience that many B&M stores begin their thinking on implementing Free Wi-Fi as simply for Free Wi-Fi’s sake – they recognize that their competitors are doing it and that more and more shoppers are using its presence as a deciding factor in where they spend their time; this creates the feeling of crap-we-need-to-do-this-too (and most people don’t like to feel that way).
New opportunities for engagement
Plain-vanilla Wi-Fi or social Wi-Fi? Savvy businesses pick social.
It’s the savvy groups that recognize that their network can provide more than just Free Guest Wi-Fi; it’s a new opportunity to communicate directly with their visitors, one that takes advantage of the latest technologies and behaviors of modern consumers – and that’s the whole idea behind Social Wi-Fi.
I read with interest Lee Badman’s article in Network Computing: Social WiFi Sign-In: Benefits With A Dark Side. Despite the gloomy title, the article is a fair and balanced look at both benefits and privacy implications of social Wi-Fi.
Would you join a loyalty program to get a coupon?
Perfect timing, I said to myself. Facebook just announced that they will be adding new functionality to their OAuth capabilities which would allow users to access any service using Facebook OAuth anonymously. This is obviously in reaction to the ongoing privacy conversation across the entire Internet spectrum. And it just so happens that we at AirTight released a blog post about it on the same day as Lee Badman’s article ran: Facebook ‘Anonymous Login’: What Is the Impact on Social Wi-Fi? We’ve maintained since the beginnings that Social Wi-Fi should allow an anonymous path for any user who does not want to engage on social media.
Reporting from Facebook’s developer conference, CNET writes:
“The biggest news for Facebook’s 1.28 billion members is “Anonymous Login,” a twist on the standard Facebook Login option that gives people a way to try an app without sharing any of their personal information from the social network. The move addresses concerns about user privacy as Facebook seeks ways to encourage people to explore new apps.”
Note “Not so social?” option below the social login buttons.
“Facebook says it’s testing the new log-in option with select developers,including Flipboard. That means you likely won’t see the black button in your favorite apps for several months.”
“The news aligns with one of the event’s broader themes around putting people first and giving them more control over their data. Zuckerberg expounded upon this notion of improving trust and getting people more comfortable with using Facebook in conjunction with third-party apps.”
How does this impact social Wi-Fi, and specifically social log-ins?
As it turns out, we at AirTight recognized early on that despite tremendous growth and acceptance of social media generally, it’s essential that users are provided a means to utilize Wi-Fi services anonymously.
Retailers have long battled the dual pressures of online shopping and congested marketing channels just to get people to walk through their door. Now showrooming has moved the war inside the store, as a fragile economy combined with the ubiquity of mobile devices has created a savvy new breed of consumers who use their smartphones and tablets to research products and prices while they browse the aisles. It’s like having scores of invisible competitors whispering in the ears of your hard won customers.
Fortunately, there’s a way to fight back, gain control of the conversation, and provide a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your customers, all while providing them with a service they’ve been asking for: free in-store Wi-Fi.
Did you know that 80% of mobile consumers are influenced by in-store Wi-Fi as a factor in deciding where they shop?
By Lina Arseneault
In early 2013, IDC issued the updated version of its IDC Retail Insights report outlining the top 10 predictions for the world-wide retail industry. One of the report’s authors is retail research director Leslie Hand. She and I recently met at IDC’s Directions annual conference in Silicon Valley to discuss the recently published report.
Most of our discussion centered on the first four predictions from IDC’s top 10 predictions list.
- Omnichannel Retail Maturity Will Move from Foundation to Convergence and from Precision to Immersion
- Retailers’ Omnichannel Objectives Will Require Platform and Architecture Investments
- Retailers Will Invest in Customer Analytics, Merchandizing, and Marketing Technologies to Curate Commerce and Contextualize Communications
- Retailers Will Pivot Merchandizing and Marketing on Customer Analytics to Drive Revenue and Profit, Relevance and Reciprocity Being the Watchwords
RSR Research and AirTight Discuss the Benefits of In-store Wi-Fi
Webinar: Wi-Fi as a Competitive Retail Advantage | Date: April 30,2013 Time: 11 AM Pacific
Leslie and I agreed that consumers are forcing retailers to act faster than they traditionally have and that this type of pressure is only likely to increase. Digital and physical interactions are increasingly intertwined and consumers are demanding that retailers engage with them on these terms.
Retailers are realizing that knowing more about their shoppers can be the key to building relationships and boosting sales.
Retail Motion Infographic
80% of mobile consumers are influenced by in-store Wi-Fi as a factor in deciding where they shop
Retailers serious about meeting the customer expectations challenge head on can make continuous nurturing refinements based on retail analytics. Savvy retailers will need to make the most of their Wi-Fi networks to not only drive sales but also to build up CRM programs.
Leslie and I rounded out our conversation by touching on AirTight’s experience in working with PinkBerry, the five year old Los Angeles based Brand best known for its highly popular handcrafted yogurt bar. Central to the PinkBerry promise is the belief in the power of human connection. Accordingly, the driving force behind PinkBerry’s Wi-Fi deployment was the launch of The Pinkcard, PinkBerry’s loyalty program and mobile app; as well as requests from store customers and owners for Wi-Fi access services. The company exceeded its three-month goals in just one month.
I can think of no better way to close our this blog post than by letting (virtual) Leslie Hand touch on the new retail paradigm and the opportunities it presents.
View the YouTube video, Mobility: The New Retail Paradigm by Leslie Hand.
Note: A version of this blog was originally published as a guest post for the PurpleWifi blog.