Most supermarkets now use WiFi and offer it to their customers — but only a minority has unlocked the power of up-to-date networks that can truly enhance customer experience and take business operations to the next level.
Have you utilized WiFi for your supermarket? If not, you’re missing out on its pivotal role in attracting and retaining customers, as well as boosting sales.
Join us to explore what better supermarket WiFi can do for your bottom line and how to get started.
Why Supermarkets Need WiFi
Shoppers tend to prefer stores that offer WiFi access and most regularly use their smartphones to make purchasing decisions. Providing free and reliable WiFi access:
- Keep your customers in your store for longer, indirectly increasing sales.
- Give yourself a competitive edge — when faced with a choice between a supermarket with excellent WiFi and one without, customers will overwhelmingly choose the former.
- Allow yourself to collect valuable data and insights on your customers’ shopping habits.
- Supercharge your marketing strategy through online vouchers or store apps.
Efficient supermarket WiFi doesn’t just work for your customers, though. It also allows your Point of Sales and inventory systems to function and your team to communicate in real-time, even at different points in the store.
WiFi for Customers: Beyond Free Internet
“Free internet” might have been a huge selling point a few years ago, but modern customers have moved on. They now passively demand it — taking free WiFi access for granted and actively welcoming personalized shopping recommendations and promotions. In today’s fast-paced world, most companies need WiFI because customers expect it.
Your customers might physically be in your store, but a good portion of their minds is focused on the digital realm. That gives stores an unmissable opportunity to build genuine connections with their customers through their apps and WiFi connections — all while collecting valuable data.
Convenient in-store navigation, personalized promotions, real-time inventory checkers and price-comparison tools, and app-based loyalty programs are just the start.
Benefits to Customers
Busy shoppers love nothing more than convenience. Reliable supermarket WiFi coupled with an in-store app allows your customers to take full advantage of the personalized recommendations and discount options you have “in store” for them, making them feel genuinely cared for throughout their shopping experience. Customers in a hurry can benefit from mobile-friendly checkout options while scanning barcodes with their smartphone gives them immediate access to up-to-date pricing information.
Customer Data and Insights
Your store WiFi can provide valuable insights into customer behavior while respecting their privacy, including by:
- Analyzing foot traffic, giving you insights into store flow.
- Identifying repeat customers.
- Creating heat maps showing the most visited areas of the supermarket, allowing for more informed product placement decisions.
- Tracking conversion rates.
- Allowing customers to provide feedback on their customer experiences.
WiFi for Business Operations
WiFi’s superpowers don’t end with improved customer relations and experience — smooth supermarket WiFi also plays a crucial role behind the scenes. An efficient and properly optimized WiFi network makes managing your inventory, enabling employee communication, and tracking employee productivity significantly easier.
In-store WiFi additionally enables real-time monitoring and makes rolling out updates from a central location simple.
WiFi solutions play a critical role in improving operational efficiency — starting with these applications:
- WiFi-connected inventory management systems. Crucial to maintaining accurate stock levels, these systems can update inventory records in real-time. Your business benefits by ensuring your customers always have the items they need and by reducing error margins associated with manual tracking.
- POS systems. Your WiFi ensures that pricing, sales, and inventory information are always current.
- Queue monitoring. Business WiFi solutions help supermarkets monitor queue length and reassign staff in real-time as needed.
- Staff communication. WiFi solutions enable staff to communicate efficiently and immediately, no matter where in the store they are, allowing them to be more productive.
- Security. WiFi-connected security feeds can reduce inventory loss due to theft.
Security Concerns and Solutions
As we’ve seen, supermarket WiFi serves two crucial but distinct functions — enhancing operational security and improving customer experience. For security reasons, it is essential to keep these two functions separate or segregated. In other words, you don’t want teenage would-be hackers logging onto the same system you use to manage your POS and inventory management tools.
Some supermarkets solve this problem by running two separate networks simultaneously. Others use virtual LANs to create a secure demarcation. Other tools, like firewalls and Network Address Translation (NAT), can, in combination with strict security protocols, separate your public WiFi network from your internal networking needs.
It’s also essential to note the importance of choosing a reputable WiFi provider. A trusted provider will prioritize top-tier security measures, ensuring that both your business and customer data remain protected. When searching for a vendor, conduct thorough research. Look for testimonials, case studies, and any security certifications they may hold. Their commitment to security should be evident in their track record and the technologies they employ.
Regardless of the solution you implement, regular updates and network maintenance are integral to your security.
Types of Supermarket WiFi Solutions
The best supermarket WiFi solutions are customized to each store’s unique needs. Each business WiFi solution has a unique set of advantages and challenges for supermarkets. Which option is best for your business?
Managed WiFi is a convenient WiFi solution for established supermarkets with a WiFi infrastructure — such as access points and switches — in place. This solution gives the supermarket full control over the hardware while outsourcing day-to-day network management to a trusted third-party provider.
Network configuration and security measures can be fully customized, and performance can be fine-tuned as traffic fluctuates. Managed WiFi seamlessly integrates with POS and inventory management systems.
WiFi as a Service
WiFi as a Service uses a different model in that the third-party provider takes responsibility for hardware and network management. This highly scalable subscription option is uniquely convenient because your network management provider proactively manages all your WiFi needs, liberating you from this responsibility.
WiFi as Service solutions are ideal for supermarket chains, which gain the flexibility of scaling their networks up and down as the need arises.
Cloud-based WiFi management is precisely what it sounds like. While it has similarities with managed WiFi, the network can centrally be managed through the cloud while providing real-time analytics.
This solution is versatile, flexible, and scalable to the max. Even staff without special technical expertise can play a role in managing and monitoring the network, while the third-party provider takes responsibility for updates, security, troubleshooting, and other technical aspects of network management.
How the Right WiFi Solution Can Transform Your Supermarket
We’ve all been in a store with poor WiFi — and we all know how frustrating it is when the internet doesn’t work as it should. While unreliable connections irritate customers (potentially affecting their brand loyalty), they’re a nightmare for retailers.
Large supermarkets face unique challenges, as wide-open spaces with dividing shelves that easily cause network interference. Smaller supermarkets, meanwhile, can’t afford to manage their own IT teams and often lack technical expertise.
The most common challenges include:
- Unreliable network strength and coverage caused by improper placement and installation of access points.
- Traffic surges, caused by a sudden influx of customers overloading your network and potentially taking resources you need for your core operations.
- Outdated hardware, firmware, and software interfering with POS, inventory management, and security systems. Because many supermarkets rely on outdated WiFi solutions and infrastructure, this is a common challenge.
- Improper configurations. Security is paramount, and network configuration serves the essential role of securing your operational systems while providing free supermarket WiFi to enhance customer experience and build loyalty.
These challenges highlight the fact that no WiFi solution is right for all supermarkets. Instead, a network set up and configured for your unique needs is the key to improved connectivity and functionality.
Taking the time to evaluate and plan which WiFi solution truly meets your needs is essential — and there’s no shame in relying on outside help to do that. A fast, secure, and reliable network that can handle the traffic you receive while allocating resources to your core operations is possible.
It can build customer loyalty, drive sales, streamline your daily operations, and increase employee satisfaction and productivity.
Choosing the Right WiFi Solution for Your Supermarket
The choice between supermarket WiFi solutions — managed WiFi, WiFi as a Service, and cloud-based WiFi solutions — depends on factors like budget, scale, customer needs and marketing goals, and operational needs.
Managed WiFi offers a high degree of control and security for established supermarkets while requiring significant investments in WiFi infrastructure like access points. It comes with higher upfront and ongoing management costs and more responsibility while offering greater control over the network.
WiFi as a Service and cloud-based WiFi are excellent solutions for larger supermarkets, including chains, because they are versatile and allow for scalability in both directions. They’re also great choices for smaller supermarkets, allowing monitoring and analytics with limited technical skills. WiFi as a Service is a wonderful choice for supermarket locations where investing in up-to-date hardware is challenging. However, WiFi as a Service and cloud-based WiFi solutions don’t have as many customization options.
WiFi is a core part of the way modern supermarkets work — both in terms of customer relations and satisfaction and daily operations. Because your WiFi needs depend on a complex web of factors, the right WiFi solution for your supermarket is as unique as your store. You’ll need to factor in business WiFi costs and more to understand the whole picture.
Together, we can ensure that your WiFi works for you every step of the way, pushing you forward in a market where connectivity makes all the difference.