Study: Wi-Fi a Key Asset in Driving Higher Store Sales

Acquity Group released findings from its study, Desktop vs. Smartphone: Technology's Impact on Omnichannel Behavior.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,500 smartphone owners to evaluate the importance of price, convenience, product availability, coupons, customer service and loyalty programs while shopping in store, online, on a smartphone and through social media, reveals major opportunities for retailers.

Free in-store Wi-Fi is a worthy investment for retailers
Consumers feel they would be more confident making a major purchase when free in-store Wi-Fi is available and would also be more likely to make additional purchases while in store:
  • 50 percent of smartphone owners would feel more confident making a major purchase with the ability to research in store.
  • 30 percent would be more likely to browse additional items not on their list.
  • 20 percent would spend longer in store.
"Retailers are looking for ways to increase in-store sales, while also pushing online spend in an age of showrooming, but several are eliminating some of the best opportunities to drive a greater amount of in-store revenue," said Chip Knicker, vice president of e-commerce at Acquity Group. "In-store Wi-Fi not only allows retailers to keep consumers in store longer, making them more likely to purchase, but also helps tie in the consistent user experience across channels that today's consumers expect."

Overall, the survey results reinforce that consumers want a shopping experience that brings all of a retailer's digital and in store elements together. In fact, 46 percent of smartphone owners would purchase more online if there was a more consistent user experience across channels.

Online content is king for purchasing across channels
Online content from omnichannel retailers is becoming more influential and driving purchase decisions across all channels, including social media:
  • 78 percent of smartphone owners have looked up a retailer's inventory online prior to visiting the physical store.
  • 59 percent have been influenced to make an in-store purchase decision after browsing product images and information on a smartphone.
  • 73 percent would be more likely to purchase from a brand that provides editorial content (social updates, news, or email) that is relevant and interesting to them.
  • 32 percent have not yet purchased products posted on social media, but would be open to trying it. Another 16 percent have already purchased items after being influenced by social media posts.
Consumers want organization and simplicity when purchasing via mobile
  • Of the respondents who have made a purchase via mobile, 83 percent say convenience is the number one reason they've done so.
  • Of the respondents who have not previously made a purchase via mobile, 41 percent would be more likely to make a purchase via their smartphone if the website were optimized for smartphone use.
  • 44 percent of smartphone owners say mobile website organization is the most important aspect of a good smartphone experience.
"The frequency of mobile and online purchases will clearly increase as retailers expand their mobile content and capabilities," said Knicker. "In addition, our study shows the willingness of respondents to purchase products promoted through social media channels. In the end, driving purchase activity is directly related to the abundance of relevant, customer-focused content brands provide that connects online, in store and social media experiences."

Shopping preferences differ across all channels, but loyalty programs are universally the least important decision maker
Shopping preferences for smartphone owners rank differently across channels. Price was less important while shopping on mobile vs. online (on a desktop/laptop) and customer service was most important while shopping in store. Overall, loyalty programs were the least important factor to customers regardless of channel.

Shopping preferences differ by generation
Overall, the study confirmed assumed generational shopping behaviors in store, online, via mobile and through social media.
  • Younger consumers are most likely to remain loyal to a brand or retailer (across channels) based on price, while older consumers are most likely to remain loyal because of customer service.
  • Across generations, most respondents make frequent online purchases (two times or more per month) from laptop or desktop computers.
  • Smartphone owners aged 26–45 are the most likely (73 percent) to have made a purchase via their smartphones.
  • Across all generations, convenience is rated the most important factor when making a purchase via smartphone.
"The rise of omnichannel commerce has driven retailers to invest in strategies that engage consumers across channels," added Knicker. "Our study demonstrates the importance of appealing to consumers' specific preferences when targeting them across platforms.

"It also confirms that consumers' preferences change both with age and as technology and design capabilities advance," he continued. "Loyalty programs, once regarded as important to gaining and retaining customers, have been shown to be the least important when up against the time-honored factors of price, convenience, product availability and customer service, all of which can be delivered through a seamless omnichannel experience.

"It is clear brands that don't align their experiences with evolving consumer expectations will miss out on revenue opportunities," said Knicker.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds