Should you provide customers with free Wifi?

28 October 2014 | Tom Chapman

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Tom Chapman

Blog Author | Vertical Leap Digital; Content specialist


The internet has changed significantly over the last few years. It is now an essential part of our society and vital for many of our day-to-day tasks. In fact, it seems that most of us cannot live without it.

The internet has changed significantly over the last few years. It is now an essential part of our society and vital for many of our day-to-day tasks. In fact, it seems that most of us cannot live without it.

In 2012, a survey conducted by communications company Broadcom revealed that 30% of respondents believed they could not go without a wireless connection for an hour, while 60% claimed they could not last more than a day.

Although this research was conducted with American participants, it seems many individuals in the UK also cannot bear to be parted from their Wifi. To cater for this, companies such as The Cloud are setting up public Wifi hotspots throughout the country, to complement private networks and fill the gaps between them, allowing unbroken access to the web.

It can be argued that most individuals want to be always online – and this creates a new opportunity to connect with your customers.

The benefits of customer Wifi
There are several organisations in the UK which provide businesses with the opportunity to connect with their customers. However, the benefits of this will differ depending on what niche the organisation operates in. For example, restaurants and cafes can capitalise by advertising their new capabilities to office workers – while on a break or prepping for a meeting, these people can enjoy a coffee while getting some work done or relax on social media, something which might be blocked at their workplace.

However, generally speaking, the business can benefit from hosting a Wifi hotspot by:

Taking advantage of new marketing opportunities: For example, the registration process could involve a marketing opt-in for email promotions. The landing page for a business’s Wifi could also feature a customised landing page with company logo, building brand recognition.

Improving customer loyalty: These days, consumers expect to be always connected, so this fulfils their expectations and keeps them happy.

Having access to useful data: By providing a Wifi hotspot, business owners can use the traffic to monitor trends and other useful information, helping them build a better picture of their customers.

Improving customer interaction: A Wifi hotspot could be a good opportunity to liaise with customers and get their feedback on matters within the business. This allows companies to develop and build better relationships with these people.

Setting themselves apart from the competition: In the world of business, any advantage is crucial – and this could give firms a very useful edge.

A real world example
Although the examples mentioned above are certainly relevant, they are largely theoretical. To further emphasise the benefits of business Wifi, I would like to share a real-world case.

Recently, I was shopping at one of my favourite book stores when I found something which looked intriguing. As I hadn’t heard of the novel before, I used the shop’s Wifi hotspot to research it online. Finding largely positive reviews, I purchased it that day.

Would I have bought the book anyway if I didn’t have access to Wifi? This matter is debatable – all I know is that I’m really enjoying it at the moment.

However, one thing is absolutely certain. Ofcom research suggests that 30% of adults in the UK access the internet through a tablet, while more than 60% have a smartphone. Therefore, if you aren’t catering to these people who want to be always online, you really are missing out.