The Digital Disconnect: Weak in-store networks lose retailers conversions

Slow networks and lack of WiFi connectivity in-store are damaging customer experience, and costing retailers conversions, warns a new report from communications provider Vodat International.

Research from 'The Battle Of The Bandwidths' Report shows that 60% of UK shoppers use their smartphone in at least half of their shopping trips, and a further quarter (25%) of consumer use connected devices during all store visits.

However, while most retailers have invested in omnichannel solutions to involve themselves in this mobile journey and bridge the online/offline divide, if these are not underpinned with support from digital technologies and a robust network, these solutions could be losing out on sales opportunities.

Without a robust network, which is capable of managing the increasing number of customer and staff devices logging on, customer experience can be detrimentally impacted.

For instance, 75% of consumers encountered problems with slow running store technology in the past 12months. With a third of shoppers experiencing issues with slow card machines and self-service checkouts, 40% have been frustrated by slow public WiFi in-store in the past year.

And it seems, these network issues not only leaves shoppers in a bad mood following the encounter in question, it can have a lasting impact on customer/retailer relationships: a quarter of consumers lose loyalty with that retailer in some way following a network incident, while one in five are put off from visiting that store again for some time after such an incident.

Commenting on the report, Paul Leybourne, Head of Sales at Vodat International, said: "In the age of the 'digital High Street', to meet the demands of tech-savvy shoppers retailers need to integrate online and offline retail. Critical to this is creating a roadmap for engaging bricks-and-mortar customers in an increasingly digitised world – a world in which customers are won and lost on the strength of the retail network."

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