Free wireless service is the new dial tone. Customers have come to expect free wireless service from the companies they do business with, to the point that not offering free WiFi can put those businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
The good news is that offering free WiFi does pay off. According to research from Devicescape, 61.3% of customers who take advantage of free WiFi spend more time at a business' location. That gives them more time to spend money. In fact, 50.1% of those customers do spend more money, helping to boost revenue and profitability. Free WiFi is also credited with increasing foot traffic into retail businesses, leaving 75% of those businesses surveyed indicating that providing free WiFi to customers is important or very important to their business.
61.3% OF CUSTOMERS WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE WIFI SPEND MORE TIME AT A BUSINESS' LOCATION.
IN FACT, 50.1% OF THOSE CUSTOMERS SPEND MORE MONEY.
While customers simply want free access to a wireless network, there are a number of ways businesses can provide that service that also support their own business goals. Many organizations are now preparing WiFi plans to ensure that business and customer needs are all being met.
WHATS YOUR WIFI PLAN
There are a number of different reasons that businesses install free WiFi, from attracting customers to keeping current customers happy to encouraging repeat business. There are different goals, all of them valid. However, companies that deploy free WiFi primarily to improve customer service have the highest rates of success, averaging 79%, according to Devicescape's survey. 72% of companies that implement free WiFi to increase sales are typically successful, and 69% of those companies who install it to increase foot traffic meet their goal.
The key takeaway here? No matter what your marketing goals, free WiFi can help support them.
But how WiFi fits into a business' marketing plan depends on a number of factors, says Joel Warburton, Director- Business Internet and Commercial WiFi Product Management at Comcast Business. Ask yourself the following questions to determine which WiFi features should matter most to you:
• What kind of business do you own?
• What kind of visitors do you have? Customers? Vendors?
• How many employees do you have? This will determine how many access points you need, where to locate them, and how difficult they will be to install.
• How do you drive customers to your business?
• What do you do to entice them to stay longer?
• What do you do to encourage them to return?
• How do you engage them?
Understanding how free WiFi can further the company's marketing goals is the first step in leveraging its new features and functionality.
BUILDING YOUR BRAND THROUGH WIFI
Until recently, wireless connectivity was a commodity. Businesses either offered it or they didn't; the quality and convenience were essentially the same. WiFi has become much more of a marketing and branding tool, explains John Gasowski, Senior Director of Product Management for Business Internet at Comcast Business.
You'll want WiFi that allows you to separate your guest WiFi from your employee WiFi. You'll also want to customize your wireless network ID so you can distinguish between the two. This allows you to promote your brand on your guest network. You may also want to create custom splash pages so that you can offer your loyal customers welcome messages and specials to keep them coming back or increasing their purchase.
Instead of being a reactive platform that customers could only log into, WiFi can now be used proactively, to communicate with customers, promote your brand and work as a sales channel for your business.
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