UK mobile network operator EE has launched a new service called ‘Connected Retail’ to help shops monitor their customers’ behaviour and improve their experience.

The British operator is already working alongside supermarket chain Asda to "explore and activate" the new service in 575 stores in UK.

The new service uses mobile connectivity to offer customers deals depending on their in-store location and their past buying habits. It will also give retailers data like when customers typically visit a store and how long they stay.

In addition, Connected Retail uses a combination of heat-mapping technology so stores can anticipate queues before they form, provides in-store Wi-Fi for customers and gives tablets to store staff so they can do things like check stock levels from the shop floor. The operator said more than 800,000 customers have already signed up to the Wi-Fi service and it added that shop floor staff are saving seven hours a week by doing admin tasks from the shop floor.

The news was accompanied by a survey that suggested British retailers could lose €1.19 billion a year because of long queues at the checkout, with 73 percent of shoppers saying they would abandon purchases if they had to wait longer than five minutes.

Max Taylor, Director of Corporate Business at EE, said: “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.”

The Connected Retail platform is part of EE’s Total Enterprise Mobility initiative that includes solutions to allow employees to work remotely, help businesses engage with customers and its Internet of Things connected machine division.

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