The retail industry has changed human purchasing patterns immensely from how they functioned 10 years ago and will continue to do so going forward. Floor spaces have grown, racking & shelving have seen innovative displays, etc. and technology is accelerating this growth exponentially.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, as of April 2014, organized retail in India accounts for 8% of the overall retail market share. Although the industry is growing 7% annually, organized retail is booming at 26%. By 2020 the total market size is estimated to gross $1.3 Trillion of which the organized sector will contribute $220 Billion from over 150,000 stores across the country.
The flip side is the “e-tailers” using the convenience of E-Commerce to lure paying customers away from the store. While this has not been established as the cause of decrease in footfalls, stores are doing all they can to defend their turf and retain a piece of the pie. Aggressive revenue share models, brand propaganda and omni-channel retailing are the new priorities with the objective being to marry online strategy with the offline presence, to retain customers.
Earlier stores could only identify store performance based on transactional data now the WLAN enables analytics like footfall rate, in store consumer behavior, conversion rate, quality of service and more. This enables stores to design targeted sales and marketing campaigns for higher sales conversions.
Today Wireless LAN (WLAN) communications plays a critical role in customer interaction, in-store communications, operations and supply chain management. Right from large format mega stores to grocery chains and even specialty clothing outlets WLAN technology improves customer responsiveness, increases employee productivity and operational efficiency for the success of the business.
The industry is at its competitive best and any technology that can improve customer satisfaction and increase profit margins by even a fraction of a percentage can mean success or failure of the business. Stores are leveraging the WLAN for a competitive edge over their rivals. The range of applications for WLAN is almost as diverse as the retail industry itself but the key elements remain the same:
- Enabling employee mobility
- Increasing operational efficiency
- Providing better customer service and
- Real-time insight into product “life-cycles” for intelligent decision making
In an industry where a single store may carry over 30,000 different products, being able to quickly locate a specific item or know if it is out of stock is critical for customer satisfaction, continuity of business operations, and ultimately company brand visibility.
WLAN can be leveraged for: –
- Point of Sale (POS): Deployment of wireless cash registers and wireless bar code client devices gives customer-facing staff access to inventory and pricing information anywhere on the floor.
- Customer Assistance: The Jupicom WLAN solution supports a wide variety of customer assistance technologies including customer self-help kiosks, consumer mobile devices, and personal shopper devices.
- Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN): VoWLAN has the potential to significantly increase retail productivity by cutting customer response times and maximizing employee productivity.
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): WLAN combined with RFID tags can track products from arrival at distribution centers to final sale and provide real-time inventory information.
- Application Friendly: Applications facilitating indoor navigation, location services, employee tracking, asset tracking, customer promotion and loyalty programs and more can now be deployed simultaneously with the high bandwidth availability on the WLAN.