Starbucks Tests a New Wi-Fi Sign Up Process in U.S. Stores

Geekwire reported that Starbucks is testing a new Wi Fi login process in U.S. stores. Customers are asked to enter their email address before connecting. Starbucks has asked its customers to accept the terms and conditions to connect to its public network since began offering free Wi-Fi to all its U.S. locations almost eight years ago. According to the article Scott Maw, chief financial officer of the company, told the first attendees about the test at the recent UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference.

We’ll make it easy for Starbucks customers to connect to Wi-Fi. Once you enter your email, it will automatically connect to Wi-Fi every time you go into the store. You don’t need to agree to the terms and conditions. This allows you to connect whenever you want. This allows us to have these email addresses. So, from all those ideas and other options, we have stated that we will have many million digital relationships beyond Starbucks Rewards by the end this year. Starbucks informed Geekwire that customers will receive periodic email newsletters with offers and information about Starbucks stores, products, and programs, once they opt in for automated login. Starbucks said customers can unsubscribe to the email newsletters, but still have access to Wi-Fi in-store.

Total Retail’s Take Starbucks makes a great marketing move. This initiative has significant business implications. It’s a way Starbucks can establish a personal marketing channel with 60 million U.S. customers. In an age of growing privacy concerns, asking customers for their email addresses could cause some customers to be dissatisfied. The move could be seen as a calculated risk by Starbucks, with Wi-Fi now being commonplace in independent coffee shops and at other Starbucks competitors. Starbucks clearly wants to establish personal relationships with non-members. Starbucks plans to make its mobile order-ahead feature available to everyone this year. Starbucks Rewards members had previously been able to order using this technology. Customers can now use their smartphone to place orders and avoid the lines by ordering directly from Starbucks’ app. Starbucks is also allowing anyone to use the mobile order-ahead service, which was responsible for 11 percent in U.S. transactions last quarter.

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The Top Fashion Retailers in Consumer Favorite… and How They Got There

Today’s retail environment requires brands to work harder than ever in order to retain and attract customers. The competition is not only in the mall; it’s also everywhere online. While retailers spend a lot of money marketing, promoting, and advertising themselves to attract shoppers in-store to their stores, if the customer experience is not memorable and engaging, they may lose that sale to the competition, and possibly risk losing future customers.

Market Force Information (Market Force), recently surveyed more than 10,000 North American shoppers to discover their top premium fashion retailers. They also identified what makes them stand out. This study revealed that customer satisfaction is key to driving satisfaction. Retailers that provide the best customer experience are awarded loyalty and wallet shares.

Nordstrom and Lane Bryant lead the rankings

Nordstrom, the customer service icon, was again the top-ranked company in the study with a score 56 percent. However, it fell a bit from last year’s score of 64 percent. Lane Bryant, which scored 52 percent this year, gained seven percentage points to take second place. Dillard’s and Forever 21 tied for third at 46 percent. The list also included J.C. Penney, Macy’s, H&M, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Macy’s.

Market Force asked its participants to rate the retailer’s most recent experience with fashion retailers. They also had to rate their willingness to recommend that retailer. These results were averaged to create composite loyalty index scores.

Chart 1 – Favorite Premium Fashion Retailers

What does a fashion retailer have to do to become a preferred brand? Market Force identified seven areas that are key to satisfaction in fashion retail. These include merchandise selection, store atmosphere and value for money, checkout speed, the ability to create a look, finding the right size, and ease in finding items.

Market Force Information asked respondents for their opinions on the best fashion retailers in these categories. They found that Lane Bryant and Nordstrom topped all categories with the exception of the value category where Kohl’s was the leader.

Chart 2: Top Fashion Retailers Ranked By Attributes

Sales Associates are falling short in service

Research also suggests that sales associates are better at interacting with customers and helping them. Only 43% of respondents said they had been assisted by a salesperson at their last shopping trip to their favorite retailer. However, statistics show that shoppers are more likely than ever to purchase from someone who has helped them. Only 38 percent of those who received assistance from a sales representative were given suggestions for products that would suit their needs. 54% felt the associate understood their needs. These stats highlight the importance of retailers implementing formal sales processes and continuously training and assessing their associates to ensure that they are following best practices. Customers were most frequently assisted by Nordstrom and Lane Bryant associates, but less often by Kohl’s or Old Navy customers.

Chart 3 – Sales Associate Help and Effectiveness

The Key Takeaways

Retailers must ensure that they are not only meeting the seven essential attributes, but that their sales staff is engaging customers and providing assistance. This ability can make all the difference between a boring customer experience and one that is memorable.