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5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Provide Free WiFi to Customers

Walk around a street today and you will see that every business is offering some type of promotion such as a sale, a special offer or discounts for specific groups. Businesses are competing in a difficult environment as price conscious consumers look for added value. For smart businesses there is an opportunity to introduce free offerings which could generate significant returns. In the age of smartphones and tablets free WiFi offers businesses an opportunity to attract and retain new customers.

Here are 5 reasons why your business should provide free WiFi to your customers.

 1. Attract New Customers

WiFi allows businesses such as cafes, pubs and restaurants to attract customers which they would not have attracted in the past. From experience we know that sitting alone in a café or bar is an awkward experience and discourages us from  sitting alone on a regular basis. A recent survey found that 53% of people surveyed would be happy to sit alone in a cafe if WiFi was available. Free WiFi access helps people connect with friends online and removes the stigma of sitting alone.

One group of people searching for free WiFi access are tourists but tourists to many countries are frustrated by the lack of free WiFi. A survey of tourists has found that hospitality providers need to improve their offering to tourists by providing free WiFi.  The findings suggested that traditional tourist demands have changed and can be summed up as “a loo, a view and a brew — and free Wi-Fi too.” Cafes, bars and restaurants can reap the benefits created by this need by providing free WiFi access.

2. Opportunity to Collect Customer Data

WiFi networks (including MyPlace Connect’s) require a registration process for new users. This process requires new users to supply basic details in order to create an account, this includes name, age, gender and email address.  The user has a choice to opt-in and  allow the business to use his details. Businesses with MyPlace Connect WiFi have access to the registration details of opt-in accounts created within their premises. This is valuable marketing data and allows businesses to connect with their customers on a personal basis. One of the best ways to utilise this data is through email marketing. In our previous blog post we discussed the attractions of using email marketing and one of the main attractions was low cost of email marketing. Some email marketing providers offer free trials or free (but restricted) accounts and monthly subscriptions are relatively low. With the data gained from customers you could target your customers with special offers through email marketing.

3. Minimal Investment Required

Installing a WiFi Hotspot does not involve the costs that some businesses would imagine. MyPlace Connect’s price plans start from €25 per month and there are no installation costs involved. For a pub this is a fraction of the monthly subscription cost for Sky Sports. 

4. Meet Your Customer Expectations

Consumers are becoming accustomed to free WiFi access and this has created a level of expectation for free WiFi availability. Free WiFi is now available on public and private transport, in city centres, libraries, hotels, restaurants, pubs and even churches. Businesses that do not provide free WiFi need to embrace this trend and allow their customers to stay connected to their online world.  Failure to do so could be damaging to a business.  Research has found found that 1 in 10 people admitted to leaving a venue because there was no free WiFi access.

5. Helps Differentiate Your Business From Competitors

Price and quality were the traditional means for businesses to differentiate themselves from each other but technology is forcing businesses to rethink this approach. In the age of smartphones providing free WiFi will provide you with a significant advantage over competitors. As we have outlined above there are groups of people who are selecting venues based on the availability of free WiFi and your business will have an advantage if your competitors do not provide free WiFi.  Once you install WiFi don’t forget to promote it to the foot traffic walking past your business.

Peadar Gormley

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