How retailers can make money using wireless internet


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Before the rise of smartphones or social media, it was quite acceptable for retailers to almost operate in their own isolated worlds. After all, if a customer’s purchase decisions were completely decided inside the store, then why adapt?

However, within a few short years, the world changed almost beyond recognition. Soon, we were walking around with wireless devices, staying connected to each other at all times. In turn, we started using this technology to influence our purchase decisions, inside the store and outside.

Consequently, retailers can no longer ignore WI-FI when creating marketing strategies – and must ensure that any related decisions factor in this technology. For example, as this blog has already discussed, retailers can build customer trust by ensuring positive reviews are easily available.

Although the flipside of this argument suggests that WI-FI could cripple a business, organisations must not fear the connected shopper. Instead, they should embrace them.

Your customers need wireless internet

An article published on Econsultancy demonstrated just how important wireless technology is to consumers. Although it illustrated how important product reviews were to consumers, it also revealed that customers used their devices for much more. For example:

  • More than 40% of individuals would factor whether or not a store provided WI-FI into their shopping decisions.
  • Of those who used in-store WI-FI, almost 50% used the technology to find offers for the products available.
  • More than a third used the in-store WI-FI to browse the organisation’s website.

As well as showing the benefits of introducing in-store WI-FI, this article made a number of recommendations to help retailers target connected customers, such as advertising the presence of wireless internet, offering special deals, and ensuring that the shop’s website is optimised for mobile devices.

While it is fair to say that those who do not embrace the mobile customer are being left behind, these benefits are arguably theoretical. To really illustrate the advantages of introducing wireless internet, a practical example is needed:

The benefits of introducing wireless internet

These benefits are illustrated in a case study published by the Cloud. In this particular example, the organisation introduced WI-FI to Thorley Taverns when the organisation wanted to bring in new customers and compete with larger organisations.

Following the installation, it was reported that:

  • The WI-FI lead to a 25% increase in daytime trade
  • Customers stayed in the pub longer due to the wireless internet
  • A new service was introduced which allowed customers to interact with staff using the technology. This reportedly opened up additional up-selling opportunities and helped to promote offers.
  • The presence of WI-FI within the premises brought in new types of customers

During an interview with the Cloud, the operations manager of Thorley Taverns spoke favourably about the WI-FI, stating that it was “a vital part” of the business and added they were “amazed” by its impact.

However, these results are not entirely unusual. In one article published on Techradar last year, it was revealed that most consumers stay longer in a premises with free WI-FI and usually spend more money in these stores than competitors.

Wireless internet is now such a huge part of our lives it is hard to imagine life without it. Although their spread shows no sign of slowing down, this is not something that should be resisted or feared. Rather, it must be embraced.

Those who do so will reap the benefits.

Tom Chapman
Tom Chapman is a content specialist for Vertical Leap. He specialises in matters related to PR, marketing, and SEO.


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