Background

Unieuro is the largest omnichannel distributor of consumer electronics and household appliances by number of stores in Italy. Founded in the late Thirties, at the end of Fiscal Year 2017/18 the Company reached a total turnover of almost 1.9 billion Euros through 225 directly operated stores, 267 affiliated stores, its e-commerce platform unieuro.it, as well as B2B operations.

Unieuro’s strategy is about continuing along its path of profitable growth by increasing its market share in the categories most valued by customers, focusing on the importance of customers and the opportunities offered by the omnichannel approach.

Challenges

With the development of mobile Internet and smartphones, Internet access anytime, anywhere has become an accepted lifestyle. According to Mobidia, Wi-Fi networks carry about 70 percent of the world’s data traffic on smartphones. The proportion reaches 80 percent or even higher for indoor scenarios. Free Wi-Fi service is indispensable almost everywhere, also because the customer’s habits have evolved and become omnichannel: it is more and more common to seek product information and compare prices via a smartphone while visiting a store. Therefore, many shopping malls and supermarkets hope to use it to attract customers and improve service satisfaction. Free Wi-Fi in these scenarios, however, faces the following challenges:

  • Unprofessional network planning: No simulation tools, or only 2D simulation tools, are available, which cannot prevent interference between Access Points (APs) on the same floor and neighboring floors. Wi-Fi coverage holes hinder concurrent access and fail to achieve the desired access rates. Customer STAs fail to obtain IP addresses and are disconnected frequently during roaming, degrading the customer experience. Unprofessional or improper network planning may also cause an inaccurate STA location.

  • No Return On Investment (ROI): Standard industry Wi-Fi solutions typically provide Internet access and simple portal advertisement pushing, failing to deliver any significant ROI.

Managing a huge store network including around 500 locations all over Italy and in light of its omnichannel approach aiming to integrate offline and online into a sole shopping experience, Unieuro is always committed to providing customers with stable, high-quality free Wi-Fi service inside each of its store; therefore, the retailer required a Wi-Fi solution that could achieve 100 percent coverage, eliminating any signal interference between APs.

Customers should be able to easily access the Wi-Fi network to enjoy high-speed Internet service, even in densely populated scenarios. Additionally, Unieuro needed to leverage the Wi-Fi network to serve the enterprise itself. Accurate STA locations, device models, and other information gathered from the Wi-Fi network would be integrated with a professional third-party retail analysis platform for customer archiving and analysis. Based on the analysis results, Unieuro could trace the efficiency of marketing strategies and advertisements. The Wi-Fi network would become an online-offline integrated marketing tool as well as an open platform, which could be integrated with third-party retail analysis platforms.

Solution

After intense research, Huawei’s commercial Wi-Fi solution for shopping malls and supermarkets was selected as the Wi-Fi network provider for Unieuro. Huawei won UniEuro’s trust for its high-performance APs, professional automated network planning tool, eSight location engine, and open architecture.

Huawei’s high-performance indoor AP5030DN access point supports the HD Boost feature that allows customers to easily access the Wi-Fi network in densely populated areas.

Huawei’s professional 3D network planning tool can avoid coverage holes and signal interference between APs on the same floor and neighboring floors. This significantly optimizes access experiences in shopping malls and supermarkets and lays a solid foundation for accurate STA location.

Huawei’s solution allows for easy advertisement customization and pushes of customizable portal pages to maximize the value of entrance advertisements.

Benefits

Huawei’s commercial Wi-Fi solution for shopping malls and supermarkets improves advertisement delivery efficiency and marketing quality. Free Wi-Fi service has become a marketing tool with a high ROI, evolving from a burden to a Value-Added Service (VAS) for Unieuro.

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