Unconnected retailers are losing out on revenue and loyalty, Arqiva finds

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Consumer research released by Arqiva, the communications infrastructure and media services company, has revealed the true impact in-store connectivity can have on boosting sales and increasing customer loyalty for UK retailers – with one in four shoppers admitting to leaving when they couldn’t get online.

The Wireless Nation report, which questioned over 800 UK consumers, found that connectivity is now so important that 27% would think twice about coming back and 25% would leave as soon as possible, if wireless connectivity wasn’t available.

Typical connected behaviour on mobile devices in-stores includes; checking prices (49%), researching products (44 per cent) and looking at reviews (35%). The results also show that older shoppers are just as likely to use online information to inform offline spending as younger generations. In fact, almost a third of customers aged over 61 check prices online.

For those retailers who have already invested in free connectivity, the financial benefits are clear:

  • Generate more revenue – 20% of shoppers would spend more
  • Maximise customer interaction – 34% would extend their stay
  • Increase customer loyalty – 46% are more likely to visit again

Some businesses are performing better than others. Hotels are leading the way, with 49% of customers being able to connect ‘every’ or ’most’ times they visit. Others lag behind however, particularly high street shops (12%), supermarkets (11%) and department stores (10%).

It’s clear that unconnected businesses are not only losing custom, they’re also missing out on additional marketing benefits. Consumers are increasingly open to being targeted via mobile devices. More than 1 in 4 customers want to be targeted with relevant offers while visiting retailers and 29 per cent want to receive special offers on their device when they’re nearby (rising to 43% of 25-30 year olds). Customers are also liking, sharing and tweeting while visiting retailers (58%, rising to 88% among 18-30 year olds).

Nicolas Ott, managing director of Telecoms at Arqiva, said: “These results indicate that many retailers are still lagging behind consumer demand when it comes to connectivity. There is a real sense of frustration from consumers who can’t get on line, and this needs to be addressed. Without connectivity, an increasing number will go elsewhere, and may never come back.

“The good news is that offering connectivity pays dividends, bringing real benefits and giving retailers a competitive edge. A connected, ‘Wireless Nation’ will spend more money, keep coming back and recommend your brand to others. It also presents an opportunity to target and engage with your customers in new ways – building stronger relationships and driving brand loyalty.”

Jonathan Webb, co-founder and joint CEO retail in Action, said: “Traditional UK retailing is under threat, as online shopping surges. Some high streets are no longer viable. Retailers are under more pressure than ever to deliver valuable shopping experiences in store, online and on the move. Retailers therefore need to adapt, and recognise that shoppers are increasingly going online to improve their offline shopping experience. Catering to this by offering in-store connectivity will be key to ensure the survival of “bricks and mortar” retail.”