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UK retailers losing £1bn a year due to poor in-store mobility, says EE at launch of Connected Retail service piloted at Asda…

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British retailers stand to lose £1.04 billion a year because of long queues at the check-out, according to a new survey by EE, with 73% of shoppers abandoning purchases if they have to wait longer than five minutes to pay.

In fact, EE’s survey backs up one carried out at the end of last year by Omnico which found that on average shoppers walk out of a store after 6 minutes of queuing and 56% of them are unlikely to return to that store because of that poor experience. Check out the graphic here.

But fret ye not! Both EE and Omnico have solutions that use mobile to help bust queues. EE is introducing Connected Retail, a new managed service that uses mobile connectivity in-store to improve the customer experience and open new revenue streams. Connected Retail is the first proposition in EE’s new Total Enterprise Mobility approach for business, designed to help corporate and public sector organisations become truly mobile in every way.

According to EE’s bumpf, Connected Retail is an industry solution that retailers can use to build closer relationships with customers by engaging with them in an integrated, omni-channel way. It can help retailers better understand their customers’ buying behaviour, registering when they arrive at their local store and how long they spend shopping. With this knowledge, retailers can send customers personalised offers and promotions to their smartphone while they are in-store.

Building on this, by using real-time data analytics to develop time-based communications with customers, combined with heat mapping technology to anticipate queues at the checkout before they arrive, retailers can ultimately deliver an enhanced shopping experience that customers will value and keep coming back for. Heat mapping can also help retailers plan and update store layout to optimise traffic flow through the store.

And it seems to working for Asda. EE is already working with the supermarket chain to explore and activate Connected Retail strategy and technology in its 575 stores around the UK. Asda’s branded in-store WiFi instantly attracted over 100,000 customers and now has more than 800,000 subscribers. Asda store managers are now able to complete admin tasks from the shop floor using tablet PCs, which has given them back seven hours a week to spend with customers and colleagues.

Cross-referencing WiFi data with customers’ use of online shopping apps gives Asda a more holistic view of buying behaviour, enabling the retailer to provide even better-targeted services and communications across online, mobile and in-store channels.

Max Taylor, Director of Corporate Business at EE, explains the rationale behind the launch: “Consumers are always online, always mobile, shopping on the go. By 2016, 80% of consumers will be using mobile to make informed buying decisions. As they find, compare, share and buy, retailers have the opportunity to exploit digital channels and create a far more engaging in-store experience.”

By combining technology with wireless connectivity specifically for use in a retail environment, Connected Retail opens up new possibilities, such as offering spontaneous promotions based on a customer’s location within the store and known buying preferences, or even to set up an instant digital marketplace to provide customers with a choice of competing offers.

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