Looking ahead: CEO Wayne Arthur’s Thoughts on the Future for Physical Venues in 2021
The way we view physical venues is forever changed. As 2021 kicks off, brick-and-mortar businesses will continue to adapt to meet the needs of their customers. They will need to be prepared to provide an individualized experience while keeping safety of both customers and employees at the forefront. Businesses will see shifts in behavior, service, mind-set, as well as their physical venue layout. Skyfii’s CEO, Wayne Arthur, gives his thoughts on what businesses should expect and consider as we move forward in 2021.
With the COVID-19 vaccine, will business go back to pre-COVID operations or will venue occupancy management continue to be important?
Will venue analytics be increasingly more important for businesses?
Will businesses need more of an emphasis on occupancy monitoring?
Will businesses view Guest WiFi and the use of a Captive Portal as more of a necessary part of their marketing strategy?
Guest WiFi and the effective use of a Captive Portal are not new concepts. These customer engagement solutions were prevalent long before 2020. However, a growing number of customers see the inherent marketing value in terms of customer engagement. Plus, that value can be cost effective and unobtrusively delivered using a quality Guest Wifi Captive Portal solution. Any business that serves customers should have a solution like this in place. In addition, we are seeing a definite shift from retailers and other public spaces who now recognize the opportunity to harness valuable insight from technology sources such as Guest WiFi. They understand the contextual value that is possible from fusing these insights with other data sources already in these venues. This can drive better customer experiences and improved business performance.
It is extremely valuable and is becoming a fundamental part of a business customer engagement strategy. But, it must be delivered in the right way—seamless, with low intrusion, and in a personalized fashion. Marketers can be smart with the service because it provides the ability to segment and retarget audiences, progressively profile, build up relevant audience data, and deliver surveys to understand guest sentiment. All of which lead to improvements in customer experience.
Historical data shows that when customers are asked to enter an email address to get free WiFi, 10-15% of them will do so at least once. That may not sound like a large amount, but is a significant portion of a customer database. The mentality of customers has shifted. If they trust the brand, the value exchange is acceptable and a seamless guest opt in process is more prevalent and widely adopted.
Do you foresee any tech advances or big industry changes in 2021?
I foresee more of a mind-set shift over a large scale technology shift. I believe people will see the value in correlating data from a growing number of available sources to deliver a better customer experience. It’s a priority and a necessity even more now. Businesses need to enhance their spaces to ensure they are delivering a safe, relevant, and optimized customer experience. This mindset shift will help drive the need to harness data, automate services, and deliver better experiences which ultimately will lead to business growth.
What other changes do you believe businesses need to make this year?
Whether a business is physical or digital, the focus should be on improving customer experience. Businesses need to understand customer behavior, sentiment, and preferences particularly in a post-COVID world. Buildings and physical spaces are not doomed but they will need to adapt their layouts, operating procedures, and potentially staffing requirements. The work from home shift is here to stay in some capacity, so less people will naturally occupy commercial spaces, at least in the short to medium term. Business owners need to figure out how best to improve their space to deliver the best ROI. In order to make those decisions, you need to harness the right data.
I also see an internal shift in terms of how employees are trained. Employees need to understand why data is valuable and how to act on it. Businesses should train their staff on how to personalize customer experience based on knowing their customer. Employees must be better equipped to serve and compete differently as we approach this next phase. It is also important for us at Skyfii to be an authority on this subject. That’s why we partnered with the Property Council Academy on their Retail Property Industry Diploma and Data Driven Insights Courses for 2021. Education on the importance of data, analytics, and how to actually use those insights to make decisions is integral.