The ICSC Blog

Get to know the #iTechLounge Speakers: Joe DeStasio, Boingo Wireless

Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I help shopping centers and retailers use Wi-Fi and mobile marketing to differentiate the in-venue/in-store experience. Basically, I help my clients bridge the gap between clicks and bricks.
My background is in commercial real estate development; before joining Boingo, I worked for Westfield and Regency Centers, so it’s great to keep wearing my real estate/shopping center hat for my job here at Boingo.
Where do you see the industry heading in regards to mobile, social, and digital in the next 5 years? (You can pick one or all three)
If only I had a crystal ball! OK, we’ve all heard the term “omni-channel retailing,” but the fact of the matter is very few companies have actually achieved this retail utopia. In 5 years, all this talk about channels may become irrelevant—consumers don’t use terms like bricks-and-mortar, e-commerce, m-commerce, etc. They want a seamless retail experience that caters to their expectations, anytime, anywhere, on any device, or in any store.
I hear a lot of references to “mobile first” business strategies, I think we will see a shift to “consumer first.” Consumers want immediacy, transparency and connectivity around the clock—from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep.
We have analytics to help retailers understand in-store Wi-Fi usage and browsing behavior, and despite the fuss about showrooming, do you know what the #1 online destination is for shoppers using their smartphones in stores? Hint: it’s not Amazon, although it’s usually #2. The #1 site visited from in store is the retailers’ very own website! Shoppers visit store websites to check prices and availability before they buy a product in a store, because the promise of omni-channel has not yet been fulfilled.
What is your favorite social network to use and why?
You cannot beat LinkedIn for its professional networking and prospecting power! It’s also a good way to stay up-to-date on industry-related chatter.
On a personal level, I love using Facebook to stay connected with family and friends who are spread out across the country. I also enjoy using Twitter to hear what my favorite athletes (mostly those in the CrossFit community) are tweeting about.
What is your favorite mobile app to use and why?
My go-to travel apps are the airline apps (Delta, United, American) for their easy check-in and seat selection functionalities and paperless boarding passes. Google Maps and Taxi Magic are also key for getting around a city (or state!) that I’m not familiar with. And of course, the Boingo Wi-Finder app (shameless plug J) for connecting to Wi-Fi while on the ground or in the air.
When I have a few minutes to spare, I usually pop on Facebook, check scores on Sportacular, or challenge a friend to one of my favorite Zynga games (Words, Hanging or Matching with Friends).
Tell us about your session at the #iTechLounge and what people can expect to hear.
My session is about monetizing mobile engagement @ retail (plug alert: Monday, May 20, 10am in the Marketplace Mall!). I really hope it will be an interactive session where we can all share our respective insights and experiences. I will cover industry trends, like consumer adoption rates of mobile technologies (NFC, QR codes and the like), mobile @ retail figures, smartphone impact on retail sales, consumer engagement best practices and strategies, and I’m taking suggestions if there’s a particular topic that anyone would like to address!
How can people reach out to you on social?
I’m looking forward to connecting at RECon, but if you can’t make it, feel free to get in touch with me via LinkedIn or Twitter.
Twitter: @BoingoJoe

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