For small- and medium-sized businesses, offering customers and visitors complimentary WiFi access can be can be one of the factors that differentiates competitors. From dentists’ offices to department stores and everything in between, providing a reliable WiFi solution for customers and employees may prove to be more valuable than expected.
A recent Yankee Group study on retail store customers found that 96 percent prefer businesses with free WiFi and would be more likely to shop there again. Although the obvious contenders are businesses with waiting areas where customers spend a substantial amount of time—such as at a doctor’s office, a car-repair garage or a coffee shop—almost any business can benefit.
“A robust, managed WiFi network can not only help attract and retain customers, but it also has the potential to serve as a powerful marketing tool,” says Ron McKenzie, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Shaw Communications. “Increased WiFi usage and evolving consumer shopping habits are prompting businesses to find sophisticated ways to use WiFi to keep their customers connected.”
A managed WiFi service with separate guest and employee networks provides customers with convenient connectivity while maintaining a secure network. Regardless of whether customer visits are brief or lengthy, a reliable and well-managed WiFi service also can provide valuable data analytics, such as the number of connections to the network, the length of connections, and number of passersby (even if they don’t connect to WiFi).
“Whether it involves adjusting the hours of operation or offering a flash sale during peak hours, having access to analytics about WiFi usage can provide business owners with the information they need to make key decisions and give them a competitive edge,” added McKenzie.
The notion of growing a business through WiFi usage analytics is more relevant than ever, given that eight out of 10 smartphone users don’t leave home without their device, according to a recent Google survey. Keeping customers connected during their visits also creates opportunities to connect with them online. Businesses that connect with customers through their social media channels can elevate their marketing by establishing new interactive relationships and utilizing those relationships to push new promotions and incentives.
In an age of constant connectivity, consumer expectations for WiFi have increased. As demand and smartphone use continues, investing in a secure and effective WiFi platform is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity.