Friction in free Wifi could end up costing retailers in-store conversions, reports Vodat

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While offering free Wifi in-store can offer additional conversion opportunities to retailers, failing to deliver a friction-free service could, in fact, result in poor customer experience and lost sales opportunities, the latest research from Vodat, a leading communications provider, warns.

Original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers from Vodat’s latest report – Under The Influence – reveals that, whilst consumers value being able to access free internet on their own devices in-store, frictions around security, personal data and poor connectivity could be costing retailers the conversion opportunities these solutions are designed to deliver.

With 30% of purchasing decisions taking place at the shelf edge whilst consumers browse, 70% of UK shoppers want to be able to access free Wifi during in-store encounters to support independent buying journeys.

In-store connectivity, the report suggests, would make two thirds (72%) of consumers more likely to convert; with 35% of customers saying the service would make them more likely to make a purchase and a further 37% saying access to free Wifi would make them buy more in a single shopping trip. Similarly, over half (52%) of UK consumers agreed that free Wifi would make them spend longer in a shop.

However, 43% of consumers say they don’t use Wifi offered by retailers due to security concerns, worrying that the network isn’t secure or their data might be compromised, while a further 44% avoid using the service as they feel they are required to give away too much personal information – a tricky trade-off for retailers battling new GDPR regulations around double opt-in requirements on customer data, which come into force at the end of this month.

Poor connectivity to store networks also proved to be a conversion-costing bug bear amongst customers; over two thirds (77%) won’t use a retailer’s in-store Wifi if they feel the sign-up process is too long or complex, demonstrating the need to deliver fast and convenient user experiences when signing-up or logging on to store networks.

Paul Leybourne, head of sales at Vodat International, commented: “Putting in place the network power and Wifi connectivity to reach customers digitally when they’re visiting stores will set up retailers for all the future developments around mCommerce and multichannel marketing. While connected customers can enjoy a more streamlined, engaging purchase journey, the retailer is heading in the right direction towards a conversion too.”