Closing the gap between the high street and online

By Alyson Edmunds, Mobility Expert at Telefónica UK

O2, as both a consumer and business brand, is constantly striving to help business customers engage more effectively with their customers. Whether it’s providing an app that helps to close the gap between online and the high street or a tablet in the hands of a customer service advisor empowering them with real time stock updates – experiential technology is becoming king of customer service.

One thing that caught my eye at this year’s CES was Wifi Aware. The solution launched by the Wifi Alliance allows wifi compatible devices to continuously discover nearby devices, applications and information before making a connection. This means that users can configure applications to both publish availability and subscribe to receive information, opening the door to use cases such as automatic welcomes when a customer or colleague enters the office building, or the ability share media and promotional offers when customers enter a store. The Wifi Aware capability is set be added to silicon chips later this year and smartphones and tablets in 2016. Such seamlessly connected technology is yet another example of how very soon the Internet of Things will be a part of everyday life.

While Wifi Aware might not be ready just yet over the past 12 – 18 months we’ve seen whole host of new ways of engaging customers. ibeacons for example brought a flurry of activity from retailers and services industries. Whether it was sending out promotional offers to shoppers or stewarding passengers to the right terminal the technology was welcomed with open arms by many B2C businesses.

Experiential Retail is key to this trend with technology bringing a range of opportunities for retailers and service providers to attract, engage and transact with customers more effectively. Loyalty schemes are becoming more personalised through better data analysis, shoppers are being welcomed on entry to a store with Interactive Messaging and devices in-store put power back into the hands of the shopper so they can self-serve to find the information they need as quickly as possible.

While many agree that experience is key to prising consumers out of their homes and onto the high street personally I personally like to be in control of when I receive special offers. I think O2 Priority has the right level of engagement without being too intrusive. It’s important that retailers and customer service providers find the right balance of personalised offers and in your face marketing.  One thing however is for sure technology like Wifi Aware and iBeacons are undoubtedly changing the way in which we consume retail and customer service.

Visit our website for more information on how O2 is helping Retailers close the gap between the high street and online.