Last month, Local Measure joined Cisco Meraki and Connection in a collaborative virtual think tank event, “Adopting New Technologies to Solve for Today’s Retail Challenges”.

Over 500 attendees from around the world dialled in for a discussion on the current challenges and changing landscape of the retail industry. Attendees heard from Meraki Ecosystem Manager Alicia Lorenzetti, and leading tech experts Brian Gallagher from Connection and Christian Oswald and Mike Stralek from Local Measure

Here are three key insights from the event:

1. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Following the words of this Chinese proverb, yes, any business that invested in customer insight, feedback and analytics research and technology 20 years ago would certainly be reaping the rewards today. But this should not deter businesses who haven’t, because as the proverb says, ‘the second best time is now’. So while retail businesses may be desperately trying to navigate through this time of uncertainty, they can still make investments in customer experience software that will deliver business results and give them a competitive advantage. As stores begin to reopen, retailers should recognize the importance of identifying their in-store customers and understanding their wants and needs. By increasing their customer engagement and building rich customer profiles with the data they gather, retailers can begin to create personalized experiences that drive repeat business and brand loyalty. 

2. Contactless customer engagement is the new normal

Digital disruption began long before COVID-19, but now businesses must meet the changing needs of consumers while also addressing social distancing requirements. Adopting new technology to comply with safety measures is critical, but it doesn’t have to take away from the human-to-human experience. Technology can actually enhance the customer experience by delivering more convenient ways for customers to engage with a business. A great example is using social media apps for direct messaging. Research shows that 70% of customers prefer to message businesses rather than call them, and it results in customer satisfaction rates that are 25% higher. By using the tools your customers want to use, customer engagement will naturally improve. From a business perspective, contactless technology also streamlines the customer service process and increases staff productivity - a win win.

3. Customer experience is still as important as hygiene

It’s fair to say that people (employees and customers) will be feeling cautious about the return of retail in its traditional form. Real and perceived fears around hygiene and compliance with safety measures will have a significant impact. But businesses need to excite and attract their customers as well as reassure them. This is exactly why customer experience management is as important as ever. Experiences are what people remember. These are the stories people share with family and friends, and they’re the basis for brand loyalty. Unfortunately, for many businesses, customers all look the same and so the customer experience ends up being the same. But in the real world, all customers are unique and if retail businesses can recognize this, they can deliver personalized experiences that are hard to beat. This is as true today as it has ever been.

The joint solution offered by Cisco Meraki and Local Measure allows retailers to derive more value from their wireless networks, create exceptional customer experiences and drive real business results. Local Measure brings anonymous WiFi data to life with customer characteristics, sentiment and visit history. Contactless engagement solutions include WiFi captive portal, real-time customer feedback, digital messaging through social media apps and employee pulse surveys - all designed to increase engagement and improve customer service. By using customer insights to create memorable experiences, retail businesses are paving a way towards long term customer loyalty. 

Want to learn more? To view a recorded version of this virtual think tank, click here. To read more about Local Measure on the Cisco Meraki Marketplace, click here.