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In Retail, Wi-Fi is Influencing Where Consumers Spend Their Money

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Anyone who operates a retail chain needs to start thinking seriously about the business value of customer Wi-Fi.

A recent survey conducted by Hughes revealed that the availability of free Wi-Fi is a major factor for 46 per cent of consumers when deciding which shops to enter. With their smartphones constantly in use, shoppers not only expect to be granted access to Wi-Fi whenever they shop, they expect it to work perfectly regardless of where they are on the premises.

It is time for retailers to overcome their long-standing fears of “showrooming” in which consumers browse in-store, compare prices and then shop online or go to a competitor. As smartphones are so prevalent in everyday life, store operators need to use Wi-Fi to get to know their customers better, keep them on the premises for longer and make more effective use of targeted, near-real time marketing. The vast majority of shoppers in the survey (69 per cent), for instance, said they always have their smartphone Wi-Fi switched on when they are out shopping. This is a trend that retailers need to regard as an opportunity.

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