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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 18, 2013

Sponge: Three-quarters of major U.K. retailers lack free in-store wi-fi

In the U.K., demand for free wi-fi is high and millions of people use the service in stores, cafes, restaurants and bars every week. However, according to a new survey from mobile marketing agency Sponge, three-quarters of the country's major retailers do not offer free wi-fi.

by Helen Leggatt

sponge_logo.pngWhen Sponge surveyed 117 retailers with multiple stores in central London, they found that a whopping 76% did not offer free in-store wi-fi.

An efficient wi-fi set-up has benefits for both shoppers and stores alike. Requiring registration before wi-fi use enables the collection of customer data and the immediate dissemination of engaging content or promotions. In return, shoppers have free mobile access and deeper in-store and brand engagement.

Sponge's findings reveal that, while some retailers including Warehouse and John Lewis offer a winning experience with minimal registration requirements, subtle advertising and a strong wi-fi signal, others aren't leveraging the technology to its full potential. Many retailers aren't effectively communication to store visitors that wi-fi is available, while others fail to collect even the most minimal of customer data for registration, relying simply on a Terms and Conditions agreement.

"There's an increasing amount of evidence that wi-fi is becoming an important part of the omni-channel service proposition for retailers," said Dan Parker, CEO of Sponge. "It creates rich marketing opportunities, but hardly any are offering wi-fi and even less are telling customers and benefiting from its full potential. Encouraging people to register when they're in-store opens up a huge opportunity to offer something of value, increase shopper loyalty and repeat custom."

Tags: data collection, in-store, in-store advertising, in-store wi-fi, loyalty marketing, retail, U.K., wi-fi trends

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