How much does in-store Wi-Fi mean to shoppers?
According to a study from EarthLink Holdings Corp., 27.5 percent of retailers reported increased customer loyalty due to in-store Wi-Fi.
The study found that 82 percent of large to medium-sized retail participants have already deployed in-store Wi-Fi, although only 57 percent offer both customer and employee Wi-Fi. Thirty-four percent plan to update their store level Wi-Fi technologies in 2015. Besides shoppers and associates, Wi-Fi expenditures are also being used to support payment systems, PCI compliance and security.
While mobile shopping appears to have gained significant traction this past holiday season, it’s uncertain how much shoppers are using smartphones as part of the in-store shopping experience.
One survey of U.S. consumers in early December conducted by PayPal found that 49 percent had used a mobile device to research deals while in-store.
On the other hand, a study released last week from Kantar Retail, "Winning the Retail Battle in 2015," found only 16 percent of U.K. shoppers frequently use their smartphone in-store to access information about products and prices. Just 15 percent appreciated being sent personalized offers by text, whether in or out of store. And only 22 percent of U.K. consumers polled felt all retailers should provide Wi-Fi in-store. Nevertheless, 62 percent of U.K. retailers polled said they were considering installing free Wi-Fi in their stores in 2015.
Retailers appear mixed about the value of in-store Wi-Fi for shoppers. Many of the larger chains offer the service but Macy’s is one of the few that promotes Wi-Fi to consumers with stickers on its entrances. J.C. Penney eliminated Wi-Fi in fall 2013 in a bid to save $7 million following the exit of Ron Johnson but has since added it back.
Gap Inc. added free Wi-Fi to more than 1,100 Gap, Gap Factory, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta U.S. stores this past holiday season. Said Gap in release last November, "Now, you can just take out your smartphone and shop straight from the fitting room, browse customer reviews or just jump online for fun. It’s now easier to access with free customer Wi-Fi."
- Study Finds 28% of Retailers Report Increased Customer Loyalty Due to In-Store Wi-Fi – EarthLink Holdings Corp.
- Holiday Benchmark Data Alert: Updated Monday, January 5, 2015 – IBM
- Survey Says: Sometimes Holiday Shopping is Best Done from the Bathroom – PayPal
- The Multichannel High Street: Winning the Retail Battle in 2015 (infographic) – Kantar Retail
- The Multichannel High Street: Winning the Retail Battle in 2015 (study) – Kantar Retail
- Gap Inc. Makes it Easy to Gift and Get Exactly What You Want this Holiday – Gap Inc.
How much appeal does in-store Wi-Fi offer to shoppers? Considering the rise in mobile shopping, should retailers do more to promote free Wi-Fi?