Smart consumers are Wi-Fi-A-Holics.  They live and breathe 24/7 internet access and are constantly on the look out for free Wi-Fi Hotspots when they are away from the home or office.  In 2012 there were 1.12 Billion smartphones being used and this is predicted to rise to 2.43 billion smartphone devices in operation by 2016.

So as a retailer you can see that being a mobile friendly business is a must if you are to capitalise on this technological trend.  But how do you do this?  Most companies go down the route of amobile website or an App in an attempt to connect with their customers on their mobile devices.  But now there is another way – WI-FI!Retail Wifi

Offering your customers this all important connectivity is a must if you are to draw them in off of the street and into your store.

But is in store Wifi really that important?

Absolutely – “The lack of a wireless infrastructure on the selling floor … is the single biggest inhibitor to improving the in store experience.” – Retail Systems Research.

Customers love to be connected, that is a fact and this trend is going to become an absolute must as the digital age progresses.  For example a customer comes into your store and picks up an item of clothing, they are unsure whether it will look good on them, simple answer is to take a quick photo “Selfie” and post it to their friends, instantly they begin to receive feedback and ultimately purchase the item.

Now this in its own right is great, you have achieved a sale via offering free in store Wifi, but the photo is now out there and some of the customers friends, and friends of friends want to know where they can purchase this item of clothing.  So instantly through in store Wifi you have promoted your stock, generated a local social buzz and in turn will begin to see more customers coming through your door.

By offering the free in store Wifi and coupling it with social logins, everytime a customer connects you will be promoting your store, but you also gain valuable analytical data about your customers and can now connect with them directly on Social Media.

Mobile and Local BusinessSo what else can you achieve by offering Free In Store Wifi?

How about utilising in store tablets?  Having your sales staff walking around the store helping and guiding customers is great.  But what if you were to have all your stock on the tablet, so at the swipe of a finger the customer can see what you have to offer without walking and potentially missing something.  Or you could use your tablets for cross selling, with pre-defined images uploaded to the tablet you could demonstrate how some trainers go well with some jeans for instance.

Store mannequins are great for the demonstration purposes, but you only have so much room in your store to fit them all in, with a tablet showcase you can have an unlimited amount of displays right at your finger tips.  This is expressly true if you are a store offering sofas, with your in store Wifi you can show customers how a sofa might look in their home, and also the entire range of colours and materials

It has been documented that 70% of smartphone users use their device whilst in store, that is a percentage that can’t be ignored, and if you can find a way to be connected with these 70% then you are on to a winning strategy, whilst ultimately improving the customer experience and your businesses reputation.

It was this year 2014 that mobile users out paced PC users for connecting to the internet.  The internet is now fully mobile and if the trend continues eventually it will become nearly the only way that people want to get online.  Businesses are already starting to react to this, and the businesses that become the early adopters will be the ones that thrive in this technological world.  Think back 10 years ago, when free Wifi Hotspots were just coming out in the main stream coffee shops, nowadays every cafe business offers free Wifi just because it is what the consumers demand and expect.  Well that trend is now starting to hit any public facing business, so now is the time to capitalise and start making your Wifi work smarter and harder.