Luis Andrade, Sony Electronics Inc.;
Michael Cape, Michael Cape Consulting;
Robert Higgins, Fossil Inc.; Chuck
Luckenbill, OfficeMax Inc.; Anthony
Mancini, Alex Cannon; Marc Riera,
Nike North America
Is Wi-Fi a plus in retail? Would your
sales benefit from customers lingering
to use free Wi-Fi?
—Tony Kadysewski, Trion Industries, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
In my opinion, yes. Today people expect to be connected wherever they are.
Providing customers and employees the tools they need to get access to the information they want, when they want it, should be a given.
—David G. Kielly, Best Buy, Minneapolis
Mitch Abbott, The Rockport Co.; Bevan
Bloemendaal, The Timberland Co.
(Retail); Jackie Bonic, Liquor Control
Board of Ontario; Mark Brodeur,
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; David Curtis,
Crocs Inc.; Ray Ehscheid, Bank of
America; Joseph P. Flaherty, Macy’s
Inc.; Richard M. Geist, Uncle Sam’s
Army Navy Outfitters; Ignaz Gorischek,
The Neiman Marcus Group Inc.; Richard
Hamori, Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC);
James Harte, Bob’s Stores Inc.; David
Hicks, Canadian Tire Corp.; James
Hilyard, Performance Inc.; Brenda
Houston, Brenda Houston Design; Marc
Jamieson, TELUS; Rob Jordahl, Belk Inc.;
Tom Jowett, Bass Pro Shops; Danette
Kroll, Foot Locker Inc.; Brad Lenz,
Liz Claiborne Inc.; Paul O. Loux,
Sephora USA Inc.; Michael Mc Tamney,
The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack;
David Meekings, HAMLE YS; Al R.
Rodgers, Dollar Tree Stores Inc.; Paul
Schleef, Michaels Stores Inc.; David
Thomson, Le Chateau Inc.; Michael
Trowbridge, Limited Brands;
Bob Waddell, Limited Brands;
Bink E. Zengel, Luxottica Retail;
Bill Zuercher, Shopko
Fifty percent of customers in the U.K. already use digital media to help them with purchase decision-making—and this is set to rise steadily over the next few years. We should encourage customers to spend time in our spaces and steer them toward our own stories and content and the beginning of a dialogue, rather than away to
competitors or price comparison sites.
—Steve Pearce, Green Room, Birmingham, U.K.
It enables customers to do real-time price comparisons against Amazon and other online-only retailers—this is a fight that brick-and-mortar cannot win. Unless the retailer is providing QR codes or other methods to get more information about their products customer-accessible, Wi-Fi is a distraction at best and a support nightmare
at worst. On the other hand, for the employees it can be a useful tool for research (“What is my
competition saying?”), inventory management, digital signage, background music, etc.
—Tim Carter, Receptive Audio, Boston
The reality is that most customers will research competitive sites before buying, particularly for big-ticket or large purchases. If a retailer enables a customer to do that research in-store, the retailer at least has an opportunity to have a conversa- tion with the customer about why he or she should buy from the retailer and not
Amazon or other sites. Brick-and-mortar retailers need to make it easy for customers and give
them more reasons to shop their stores. They also then need to leverage the technology to
engage better with customers in and near their stores.
—David G. Kielly, Best Buy
The provision of free Wi-Fi by individual stores is irrelevant. Most people where I come from
already have smartphones with independent Internet connectivity, and they’ll use it to research
products and prices whether by the store’s Wi-Fi or through their own account. As data plans
become cheaper, it’s easier to use your own account rather than go through the extra hassle/
clicks to log on to a store’s account.
—Mark Muller, Mark Retail, Brisbane, Australia
Personally, I access all that I need via smartphone without ever switching to Wi-Fi anywhere. But if I toted a laptop I think I would appreciate Wi-Fi to eliminate the need for my own hotspot or communication link. And Wi-Fi at the coffee house, airport, municipal offices, and such would be a blessing. Still, the best solution
long-term would be citywide access and brainstem USB ports to jack into things. Similar to
national postal service delivery and universal phone service, basic access and data will be a
necessity for a progressive civilization.
—Tony Kadysewski, Trion Industries
This discussion is excerpted from the Retail Environments Network discussion on LinkedIn.
Join us there to continue this discussion or start your own.