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RSR and Extreme Networks Report: 63% of Financially Lucrative Retailers Say Wi-Fi Has Dramatically Improved Store Operations and Customer Experiences

Report Uncovers Value of Network Investments in Improving Store Operations; Highlights Growing Consumer Demands for In-Store Mobile Experiences

Extreme Networks, Inc., and Retail Systems Research (RSR) today released a new report titled “The World is Connected: The Store Must Be Too,” which found that retailers are most challenged by creating innovative in-store experiences that meet consumer expectations, the increasing demands on network bandwidth and emerging cybersecurity threats. However, despite 75% of respondents saying demands on network bandwidth were a major concern, the study found that the most successful retailers have leaned into Wi-Fi solutions to improve both in-store experiences and overall store operations. The survey polled 114 executives of global retail operations ranging from $100M to $5B+ in annual revenue.

Key Findings and Trends

  • The In-Store Experience Remains Paramount: Retailers believe a cutting-edge in-store shopping experience is critical to success.
    • 92% of retailers say that Wi-Fi is integral to offering a cutting-edge in-store shopping experience. 54% say it has significantly improved in-store experiences.
    • Only 32% of retailers say their Wi-Fi network is state of the art, while 57% say it’s just “good enough.”
    • 72% of retailers are using Wi-Fi to drive store operations.
  • Technology Adoption Can Be a Challenge: Though retailers understand the need for technology to remain competitive, deploying and managing new technology is a challenge.
    • 94% of retailers said there is endless demand for bandwidth on their constrained networks, creating technology adoption challenges; 75% list this as their top challenge.
    • 88% of retailers say that adding and managing new devices on the network is one of their biggest challenges.
    • 72% of retailers say they would prefer a single network that can handle any/all future devices and deployments, yet only 17% say they strive for a consistent technology profile across all their stores.

Read More: Signs It’s Time for Your Ecommerce Business to Adopt an ERP

  • …and an Opportunity: 96% of retailers claim that Wi-Fi has been instrumental in improving store operations to automate and streamline key processes such as virtual warehousing, loss prevention, electronic shelf labeling, digital displays, temperature monitoring, inventory management and more. When asked to prioritize the most important technology to improve store operations:
    • 66% cited corporate WAN.
    • 65% said network connected IoT devices.
    • 62% said inventory management tools.
  • Retailers with Above Average YoY Sales Growth are Investing Strategically: Retail Winners are defined by above average YoY sales growth (industry average comparable store/channel sales growth of 7%). When compared to retail respondents with average or lagging sales, it’s clear that Winners think about technology differently.
    • 63% of Winners say in-store Wi-Fi has improved both customer order fulfillment and returns handling, while just 26% of all other retailers agree.
    • Winners ranked cashierless checkouts (70%) and self-service kiosks (66%) as most important after Wi-Fi, compared to 41% and 43% of all other retailers, respectively.
    • 55% of Winners said they had satisfactorily implemented in-store Wi-Fi for consumers, compared to just 31% of all other retailers.

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