WiFi Service Delivery Platforms Create New Marketing Capabilities for Retailers

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WiFi Service Delivery Platforms Create New Marketing Capabilities for Retailers

By Keith Sinclair - 08/18/2016
E-Commerce has created both opportunities and challenges for today’s brick-and-mortar retailers. With a majority of users using their smartphones to research products and services prior to making in-store purchases, the availability of a reliable, high-speed WiFi connection can have a positive correlation to a retailer’s revenue. As WiFi deployments in retail environments become the norm, many of these retailers see the investment in wireless networking infrastructures simply as a required cost of doing business. However, the emergence of fog computing infrastructures fundamentally changes the way in which the wireless network is utilized in the retail environment.
 
When applied to wireless LAN technology, fog computing refers to the capability of pushing cloud-like networking, computing, storage, and applications out to the edge of the network - the access points - as close as possible to the mobile consumer. Next-generation WiFi service delivery platforms enable businesses to centrally manage hundreds or thousands of access points at various locations around the country, while storing and delivering content and running custom applications from each individual intelligent access point. Pushing content and applications to the network’s edge optimizes the performance of bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming promotional videos or advertisements, and eliminates latency problems caused by Internet connectivity issues.
 
The capabilities provided by this next-generation wireless LAN technology gives retailers creativity in how they use their wireless networks, enabling them to convert the WiFi network from a simple Internet connection for customers, to a powerful marketing and analytics platform that offers true ROI. 
 
Enhance Customer Engagement
 
The ability to store and serve content, such as streaming videos and marketing banners, to customers on the WiFi network provides opportunities to seamlessly deliver real-time, location-based promotional content and interact with customers during their shopping experience. The unique capabilities of WiFi service delivery platforms elevate customer engagement and enhance their shopping experience, resulting in increased sales and brand loyalty.
 
Increase Staff Efficiency
 
Powerful, cutting-edge WiFi service delivery platforms incorporate processing power and storage capabilities into the access points. Unlike Cloud-based applications, these platforms run the applications on the access point, vastly reducing processing time. This ensures that applications such as mobile-over-WiFi payments are processed quickly and efficiently.  In addition, storing and serving content and applications at the network’s edge frees up network bandwidth for other high-priority business applications.
 
Getting to Know Your Customers
 
Integrated data analytics capabilities in a WiFi service delivery platform can combine presence, location, and traffic information with big data analytics to give retailers valuable real-time marketing insights to improve sales. The capture of foot traffic analytics throughout the day can be used to optimize staffing, improve merchandising, measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and to engage with your most loyal customers.
 
In an increasingly competitive retail environment, WiFi service delivery platforms not only provide the wireless connectivity that today’s consumers expect and demand, but can change a retailer’s marketing posture from reactive to proactive.

-By Keith Sinclair, Director of Marketing and Strategy, Relay2, Inc.