This is probably a question you’ve been asked often – or have at least debated every now and again. Should you be offering free public Wi-Fi to your customers? We say yes – and here’s why.
First, use yourself as an example. Do you have a smart phone? Do you carry it with you everywhere? Do you sometimes need to get on the internet or into your email while you’re out shopping or running errands? Chances are, you said yes to all of the above.
Without public access to WiFi, working while you are on the go would be near impossible (And possibly expensive if you are using phone data all the time). The same goes for your customers. Working on the go or pre-sale online research wouldn’t be feasible for them without public WiFi.
But giving customers the ability to work while eating or shopping isn’t necessarily the push you need to get this going, is it? We didn’t think so which is why we came up with a list of 5 more reasons why you should consider public in-store WiFi for your business.
- Retention Opportunities: If you have accessible WiFi and another similar business down the street doesn’t, customers will take notice. For most people, it’s important that they can be connected 24/7. Bill Siwicki of Internetretailer.com writes, “For one hour of the 168 hours every week, I am without the use of my iPhone. And I hate it. … Smartphone owners do not like to be severed from the Internet, having their mobile web browsers and apps rendered impotent.”
- Turn Browsers into Buyers: As we said, it’s very likely customers will be doing research online while they are shopping. What size truck do they need? What would look good where? How much of something should they buy? How many calories does a certain type of food have? Giving your customers free WiFi allows them to complete the consideration phase and the buying phase of their journey all at once. Don’t miss that opportunity!
- Loyalty Programs: Do you currently have (or want to have) an app that customers can use at your business? As an example, customers at Starbucks can use their mobile app to pay for order by simply having a barista scan a bar code. They also offer WiFi. If you wanted to do the same thing, but didn’t allow customers to connect to the Internet (forcing them to use data), they may not be as willing to download and use the app. Having free access to public WiFi gives you the ability to do so much more with your business while also improving the customer experience.
- Advertising: We know – you may not want to advertise your company while customers are already shopping there, but hear us out. If you’ve ever connected to WiFi at say, Planet Fitness, you know that as soon as you enter your email to log in, you get directed to their online store. Subtle, yet inviting. You’re already on the website, you are in work out mode, so there’s a chance you might use that as an opportunity to shop around. You can do the same thing at your business. And guess what? If customers don’t feel like looking through your “ads” they can click out of it. No harm done.
- In-Store Promotions: An OnDeviceResearch survey found that 74% of customers would like to have a retailer send a text or email while they are using in-store WiFi. Fill your customers in on deals and promotions you have going on when you know they are in your store ready to buy.
Direct Capital understands the many challenges business owners face on a daily basis, which is why we offer tips to help make your lives easier. We hope this post will help you increase ROI, improve the customer experience, and make your place of business an even more inviting place to be.
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