Why Bad Wi-Fi Isn’t An Option For Retailers

Free WiFi Hotspot

Today, just about everything seems to be connected to the web. Most of us are continually using online services throughout the day, and for retailers, apart from the obvious network connection benefits, there are a number of other marketable benefits that retailers can achieve as a result of offering Wi-Fi services to customers.

According to a recent survey conducted by BT, providing customers with a free Wi-Fi connection will, on average, make them stay in your store for longer, making them more likely to find items they want to buy. Also, customers will even be more likely to choose your business over a competitor, and make return trips to your store if you provide free Wi-Fi.

The lure of free Wi-Fi access can be very appealing to potential customers, but to spend time standing in a shop exasperatingly trying to access a poor network connection can be a massive turn-off, and can cause detrimental results in the future, putting the business in a negative light in the customers mind.

Some businesses, commonly restaurants and cafes, have developed mobile applications which allow users to make payments straight from their phone. A brilliant, innovative idea, but imagine the frustration felt by a customer trying to use such a feature while logged in to a lacklustre Wi-Fi network. It could cause the payment process to take twice as long, or could leave the customer not knowing whether they have paid or not, issues which could easily cause a customer to shun the business in the future.

It’s not just customer connectivity that’s an issue however. For the business and the staff, attempting to perform a procedure on hardware that will not operate as intended can cause a wealth of problems, causing damaging downtime and losing custom and revenue for the company. For businesses that have attempted to integrate online technologies, only to have them fall down due to unusable Wi-Fi connections, they know exactly how infuriating it can be for both them and the customers. These companies know how essential it is to find a viable wireless network.

Retailers have so many valuable opportunities available to them simply by integrating a strong and reliable Wi-Fi network. Simple data processing allows retailers to examine statistics about their customers, and even view specific details about their customers by requiring Facebook authentication to access the network. Wi-Fi access can also give retail businesses greater opportunities for their own branded mobile applications.

Without employing a viable Wi-Fi network, businesses could be missing out on a host of potential opportunities, in terms of operations, marketability, satisfaction and sales. The majority of computer based hardware employed by businesses are able to make use of an internet connection, but the use of a strong and viable Wi-Fi connection allows greater flexibility in the operation of the business, allowing them to reposition essential equipment without logistical issues. In reality, there is no end to the marketing innovations that retailers can introduce to their business with the help of a strong and reliable Wi-Fi network.

Some retailers may have already employed a wireless network, but have encountered various WLAN issues that remain unresolved by their current provider – most commonly slow, or little, connectivity. Retailers may have put up with these issues believing they cannot be resolved.

There has also been much coverage recently about ‘Bluetooth Beacons’ inside displays and even mannequins which transmit specific promotions to mobile users in the near vicinity. Whilst such developments are unlikely to replace Wi-Fi any time soon, they may well evolve to work alongside it. It’s certainly an area worth watching.

In summary, the pros greatly outweigh the cons when it comes to businesses integrating Wi-Fi services, but it can be absolutely vital that the network is able to stand up on its own two legs. With a wide covering network with strong and reliable signal, retailers are able to encourage greater marketing opportunities, whilst also improving their own operations and giving staff greater flexibility.

Alan Watson

Following a recent management buyout, Alan Watson is the managing director and majority shareholder of Barron McCann. Having worked within Barron McCann for over 20 years, Alan always prefers to describe himself as one of the ‘plumbers’, due to his technical background. But it is precisely this experience that ensures that Alan is always looking at the development of Barron McCann as a company from the perspective of the customer and the problems that he can address and solve. His aspirations for the future of the company place it very firmly at the forefront of retail evolution. Alan is driving forward an exciting and ambitious plan of expansion and acquisition that will continue to position Barron McCann as one of the leading IT support providers in the industry.