Over the decades, retail malls have grown to become big business. Shopping centers and malls have evolved to become dynamic centers for retail outlets, restaurants, and entertainment venues. They have helped to shape the modern consumer buying habits and shopping orientations.
Retail is Under Siege!
However, over the last few years, there has been a noteworthy decline in the vibrancy of shopping centers. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that from 2005 to 2015 store sales have declined by 31.2%. No wonder, the demise of shopping malls has been making headlines lately especially stores that were Anchor Tenants in malls have been closing down numerous of their branches.
Case in point: Department store giants such as J.C. Penney and Sears have closed their flagship stores in quick succession. In turn, other tenants in the mall are unable to sustain their businesses due to reduced foot traffic. The chief suspect for this downturn is, you guessed it, online shopping.
Furthermore, the retail ecosystem is perpetually evolving; the markets are constantly growing fiercer. Thus, to run a successful business requires that retailers find creative ways to engage with and understand their customer buying behaviors and preferences.
Tapping into Digital Technology Has Provided a Lifeline to Retail Business
In the wake of this reality, shopping centers need to stay relevant, drive growth and boost efficiency. Digital technology allows for just that. And this is where Wi-Fi proximity marketing comes in. It represents a move by retailers to move into the mobile sphere.
Thankfully, proximity marketing has come out as the lifeline solution for brick-and-mortar stores. By coupling shopping centers with this modern marketing solution, retailers are advancing towards providing customers with the ultimate shopping experience ever witnessed on the planet.
Why Wi-Fi Proximity Marketing is the Ultimate Solution
Wi-Fi proximity marketing is easier and more accessible for customers than ever before. More than ever people are always walking with their location-enabled mobile devices in their pockets. In fact, the global proliferation of smartphones is predicted to be over 2.5 billion users worldwide by 2019. Additionally, location service technology has become a standard functionality on smartphones.
According to Marketwatch, “the Proximity Marketing Market is expected to grow at approximately $52 Billion by 2023, at 28% of CAGR between 2017 and 2023.”
What is more, free Wi-Fi in brick-and-mortar stores is now considered as a business necessity. But retailers are no longer viewing this as an expensive burden. Rather, this is a tool that can help them to leverage the benefits of proximity marketing.
Once you create a hotspot, your customers can access it by entering their details on a splash page. After that, they can be logged in, and you will be able to see on your portal that a user has been logged into your Wi-Fi. At this point, you can market content to them.
Indeed, Wi-Fi proximity marketing is a boon for shopping centers and other brick-and-mortar store owners as it has furnished them an opportunity to enhance customer engagement, loyalty and drive traffic. Consider five ways in which shopping centers can utilize this marketing solution to their benefit.
1. Send a Welcome Message to Monetize Nearby Shoppers
When a customer enters a shopping complex, they can receive an immediate personalized welcoming message directly on their Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. Such a message could also include suggested leads to offers in different stores in the shopping center based on his previous shopping traits.
The messages are personalized to each customer’s preferences by informing them of special promotions, offers, or new products available within the shopping mall. Discounts and special coupons can be used to encourage customers to visit again. Offers targeted to consumers based on their proximity leads to higher conversion rates.
2. Customer Reporting and Analytics
Proximity marketing using Wi-Fi can help to gather important statistics about user preferences and shopping habits. The ability to provide businesses with valuable customer insights is one of the most significant benefits of this type of marketing. It helps to collect real time customer data including foot traffic, customer preference, and shopping habits.
Shopping mall owners and retailers have been enabled to gather such statistics as how many people prefer certain stores, how much time they spent within the precincts of the shopping mall, and what time do they usually make purchases.
This data helps businesses shape and optimize their future marketing campaigns and strategies. Business can thus retarget their customers with even more personalized campaigns.
3. Cross-Promote Services to Drive Foot Traffic
Customers can be advised of products or services that complement the item they purchased. Doing so alerts the user to the availability of other items or services related to their matters of interest. For instance, a customer who has purchased beauty products can be alerted to the availability of a salon within the same shopping center. They can be further enticed by an offer or coupon to visit that specific store within the shopping complex.
This is the hallmark of proximity marketing: personalization. You can be sure the message will evoke a reaction from the consumer, as it is based on a certain area of interest that the customer has shown interest.
Mall owners can also activate loyalty programs such as giving away bonus points each time a customer visits or purchases a product at the shopping center. These points are designed to be redeemed for attractive rewards in any business within the shopping mall. Such incentives are sure to attract more visitors and drive sales.
4. Real time Engagement with Customers
The superiority of proximity marketing, unlike all other forms of marketing, is that it literally allows businesses to place their offers in their customer’s hands in real time. Engaging with customers on such a personal level provides businesses the opportunity to build strong relationships with customers, right on their smartphones.
Proximity marketing does what banners, hardcopy pamphlets, and brochures did, but with more personalized and customized messages. And the beauty is that it’s not only text messages that can be sent. Rich multimedia advertising messages, discounts, sale promotions, freebies, coupons, and even guided tours can be sent to customers as soon as they enter the shopping center.
Additionally, retailers can assist their customers as they shop. Customers can check product availability, examine product reviews, save favorite products to wish lists, and view recommended or related items to those purchased.
5. Understand Consumer Behavior at Shopping Malls
By setting up Wi-Fi proximity marketing, shop owners can get an idea of how many shoppers visit their store, how many ended up making a purchase, how much time did they spend at the shopping center, and whether they enjoyed their shopping experience. This information can be helpful in the future in targeting customers with personalized product endorsements and enticing them to visit again.
Business owners and managers are empowered by this information to make well-informed decisions. They will also be better placed to adopt marketing techniques that will boost sales and build customer loyalty.
It’s a Win-Win For Both Retailers and Customers
True, retail sales decline has been making headlines over the past few years. But Wi-Fi proximity marketing has breathed vibrancy into the retail business. Shopping mall owners and their tenants can bank on this type of marketing to resuscitate the otherwise collapsing businesses.
From a simplistic point of view, Wi-Fi proximity marketing may come off as intrusive. However, the fact that it has already worked wonders for many businesses goes a long way to show its effectiveness and acceptability among consumers. It’s a win-win: Consumers are provided with offers, and they get rewarded with coupons for purchasing or simply visiting the store. On the other hand, retailers benefit from knowing their consumer’s preferences and shopping habits. Thus they can focus their business to best suit their customer’s preferences.
Wi-Fi proximity marketing is real time, and shopping centers can build strong relationships with customers with this innovative approach. As more retailers embrace this marketing solution, so will consumer perceptions of trust, value, and willingness to engage with retailers increase.