It’s time for retailers and hospitality operators to start thinking seriously about Wi-Fi.
According to a recent survey, two-thirds of consumers consider free Wi-Fi a deciding factor in choosing where to eat or drink. Another 59 per cent said they decided which hotel to stay at based on free Wi-Fi, while 46 per cent said it heavily influences which shops they enter. Not only that, they expect it to work perfectly all the time.
This isn’t surprising considering the proliferation of smartphones in every setting, being used to browse social media, compare prices, read reviews or simply pass time while queueing or waiting for an order. A large majority of shoppers (69 per cent) also said they always have their smartphone Wi-Fi on while shopping.
In hospitality, 80 per cent said they use hotel Wi-Fi for browsing and more than half (51 per cent) use it for social media, while 60 per cent said they use it to research the local area, making Wi-Fi a vital tool.
The quality of connectivity is a major concern, however, with 47 per cent of shoppers suggesting that retailers should make it more intuitive. For hotels, more than half of respondents said the most annoying problems were either slow speeds (56 per cent) or not being able to connect at all (54 per cent).
The survey shows that it’s important to not only have Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi with the capacity to meet customer expectations – businesses must ensure their Wi-Fi is reliable, secure and fast. The problem is that in many cases in-store Wi-Fi is selected, installed and managed without proper expertise and focus, making it a source of disappointment and frustration for customers, let alone staff who may be using it for work applications.
As a managed services provider, Hughes has the knowledge and experience necessary to build a solution that matches retailers’ requirements precisely, making Wi-Fi deliver.
For example, retailers and hospitality operators will be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi to send shoppers eye-catching, timely offers and promotions.
When shopping for big-ticket items, particularly electronics, shoppers want to be able access product information in the same level of detail they would find when shopping online. On the shop floor, they can only obtain this through Wi-Fi. Requiring customers who want this information to log in to Wi-Fi via social media accounts grants retailers valuable customer data such as age, gender, buying habits and personal interests. This profile data can be employed to shape more personalised offers and achieve far better outcomes than traditional scatter-shot promotions.
Aside from providing customers with information, businesses can also use Wi-Fi to learn more about how their floor-space is used. Technology that tracks smartphones from Wi-Fi access points can indicate peaks in footfall and give retailers the ability to open up more tills at the right time to cut queueing.
Above all else the survey has shown how Wi-Fi is a customer-facing technology that should be installed and maintained as a vital necessity. That means using an experienced managed services provider like Hughes to install and maintain the technology best suited to each retailer or hospitality operator’s needs, with upgrades as required.
By attracting more customers and guests, meeting all their data requirements and keeping them on the premises for longer, free, resilient Wi-Fi will deliver multiple benefits, not least to the bottom line.