2nd October 2020

Why Mobile is Essential for the Resurgence of the High Street

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has caused yet another headache for a sector already struggling against the growing popularity of online commerce. The lockdown measures have not only caused a loss from local shoppers, but also from foreign spend as a result of the drop in tourism. For department store chains such as Selfridges, 50-60% of their sales are made by foreign tourists.

But as lockdown restrictions (hopefully) continue to ease, shoppers will likely be keen to return to retail centres and escape the many months spent locked-down at home. 2020 has already revealed an interesting change in traditional shopping behaviour. While foot traffic is down for obvious reasons, the conversion rates of those visiting stores has improved greatly. McKinsey notes that for some segments such as grocery shopping, the number of transactions may have declined by 30%, but the average value per transaction has increased by 69%.

Considering Forrester estimations from late 2018 that 86% of retail transactions still take place in physical stores, there is clearly an appetite for the traditional shopping model which could fuel a real resurgence especially if the situation improves in the run-up to Christmas. It will be crucial however to provide an enhanced and connected experience to ensure customers not only come back, but keep coming back.

There have been some fantastic innovations in recent years which have served to provide shoppers with a unique in-store experience such as:

· “Scan to Try” in Nike’s flagship New York store which allows shoppers to quickly reserve clothes items in specific sizes to try on  

· “Scan and Go” payment options which allow people to pay without the need to queue used by a range of stores including some branches of Apple

· Scanning items in Amazon stores and some grocery outlets which will provide the shopper with information on the origin of the item – farm of origin, customer reviews, sugar content, etc.  

To take advantage of these exciting initiatives necessitates quality mobile service, and even the more basic uses for mobile in a retail setting require a good level of coverage. 63% of consumers rely on their mobile phones while shopping in-store to compare prices, search for offers and coupons, and check inventory according to a 2019 report on in-store mobility. The trouble is, assessing how well a store is covered by the mobile network can be difficult to ascertain. Retailers need reliable and independent information on how well their location is served to challenge service providers and justify the spend on enhancement strategies if required.

Metricell’s Beacon units are autonomous network monitors which are used in a variety of retail, business and public environments to automatically monitor how well locations are being served. Their customisable test scripts for insight into call, browsing and video quality allow those looking after retail connectivity to test the network all year round and access the performance information through fast, user friendly online software and dashboards.

For more information, let us know here and we’ll send you an overview with further use cases on how they can help provide detailed insight into mobile service.

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