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The Power of Free WiFi and How to Build Your Retail Wifi Network

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The Power of Free WiFi and How to Build Your Retail Wifi Network

By: Danny Mareco June 12, 2014   0 Category: Hospitality, Retail, Strategy, Design

In our last blog we looked at how customer engagement rates can rise when employing powerful retail wifi networks. Shruti Jain a senior analyst at Cisco in a recent Huffington Post piece stated, "There is a transition happening. With the increase in the number of devices with more computing power and features we see that there is a real momentum towards increased use of internet time on portable and other non-PC devices in general, away from PCs.”

This shift in consumers having and using smartphones and tablets much more so than desktop PC’s is one of the main reasons to switch marketing schemes and drive consumers to shop and surf the web simultaneously. This is going to take retailers committing to an enterprise level “fixed” network infrastructure that can save IT time, slash capital and operating costs, and deliver the mobile experience consumers are currently looking for.

I can remember just the other day; I was at a local restaurant. Often for a change of pace to my work day I try to get out of my normal habits (sometimes this can help creativity). Immediately I noticed that this particular restaurant had no available wifi. I attempted to connect to another open connection that was across the street but I knew this was going to be hopeless. I was left with one choice, either use my phone’s 4G or – well, I guess that’s it, and I wasn’t about to use my data when I know there is a better way.

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Instead of staying at the restaurant where I probably would have eventually gotten a bite to eat and at least a cup of coffee or two, I left and went to Starbucks. This restaurant had they decided to offer reliable and free wifi, would have made a potential regular customer, who also might have put up a nice review online identifying this restaurant as a “great place to get some grub while getting some work done, thanks free wifi”.

Businesses need to be aware that customers these days are often multi-tasking (especially during the work day) always connected, and most importantly don’t want to use their own data, if they can absolutely avoid it. Offer a greater experience, people will thank you for it and are more likely to become brand advocates from a simple service such as free, reliable wifi.

So, to deploy high performance retail wifi across any location what do you need to look for in a wireless network? Well, we’re glad you asked.

1.) Look for a Scalable Network:

You need a network that can handle A LOT of concurrent sessions and thousands of users but also one that is secure and PCI-compliant. You want a network that allows inventory management and other operational functions to be on the same infrastructure as your customer engagement and as your business grows you want the network to be able to scale up alongside.

2.) Look for a Secure Network:

You want a network secure enough to handle associates and shoppers access while blocking all inappropriate material, bonnets and malware. You can then segment your network and protect cardholder data and only allow that data to be accessed by authorized personnel. You want a FULLY integrated firewall and wireless intrusion protection.

3.) Look for a network that allows a Captive Portal option:

The ability to register shoppers and capture those demographics should begin with the customer logging on to a very personalized skinned page of your choosing that will begin the shopper’s journey.

Suggested Article | "Why is Captive Portal Important for Wireless Guest Access?"

4.) Look for a network that allows Location Awareness:

Using retailer’s physical presence in the store can allow continued marketing strategies as you can up-sell and cross-sell offers by product or location.

If you need some of your mobility challenges solved and questions answered as to the possibilities a true enterprise level network can take your business please contact us here.

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